San Lin Tun is a poet from Myanmar. He is the author of over ten English books including Reading a George Orwell Novel in a Myanmar Teashop and Other Essays, The Enigma of Big Bunny’s Arrival and Other Short Stories, A Shirt and Other Poems, and An English Writer. He is certified in AmPox.3 and Start Writing Fiction. He earned a B.E degree in Metallurgy and an M.A degree in Buddha-Dhamma. Currently, he is a guest fiction editor of Ambrosial Garland Literary Magazine. Nancy Andrews is an artist living outside of Philadelphia. Self taught in photography, she has been perfecting her images for over 15 years. Her subjects include abstracts, images inspired by nature, and observations of the world around her. Along with photography, she spends her days teaching art to little ones, playing ukulele and romping with her two little pups.
I watched contempt simmer behind a facade of duty.
I need this job. The tips are good. But these shoes are killing me.
She’ll last a month, Maybe two.
The grey beards behind their glasses will mark her round ass and swirl their wine.
Her feet shuffle under narrow hips and a bulging waistline while she bats her eyelashes at the couple occupying Table Three.
I can see behind her mask. Terse lips. Small pride. But a roar that whispers in the wings, waits for the spotlight to drop,
Heather Bonea is a poet, painter and photographer in Chico, CA. Her poems have been previously published in the online publication, Califragile, as well as the Chico News and Review. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
She coughed, but I moved closer ’cause I didn’t fear the spread of the warmness of her welcome ’neath the sheets upon the bed. I’d stayed inside where I could hide— a fortnight of unease— but she’d gone out a few times just to buy necessities.
First we scrubbed and washed our hands and then we brushed our teeth; used disinfectants on our nails in case bugs hid beneath, and then, when through (a time or two) we scrubbed each other’s backs and netherlands and washed our hands in case bugs hid in cracks.
She coughed again, but then I stood behind a filtered mask while watching through a window as a team was put to task to monitor each labored breath— equipment everywhere— but no one else could enter just to let her know we’re there.
I’m pretty certain that was her; her name was on the door. I hadn’t seen her face since we arrived an hour before. Then suddenly I had to leave, though tempted to implore they let me stay, but they said they need every inch of floor.
Today they called and told me that the worst for her had passed, that they’d removed the tubes and I could bring her home at last. I snatched our special bottle off the shelf so I might quaff a quick shot’s celebration— and to settle a slight cough.
Ken Gosse usually writes metric, rhyming, light verse. First published in FLR–East in 2016 and since by Pure Slush, Spillwords, The Ekphrastic Review, and others. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years with rescue dogs and cats underfoot. Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.
Bob McNeil, writer, editor, cartoonist, and spoken word artist, is the author of Verses of Realness. Hal Sirowitz, a Queens Poet Laureate, called the book “A fantastic trip through the mind of a poet who doesn’t flinch at the truth.” Among Bob’s recent accomplishments, he found working on Lyrics of Mature Hearts to be a humbling experience because of the anthology’s talented contributors. Copies of that collection are available here. Arabella Luna Friedland is a visual artist and writer based in New York City. She’s influenced by a childhood with cartoons, a classical education in anatomy and life drawing, and a firm belief that all art — is a portrait.
The end of spring is near It was as short as winter but warmer. What’s going on with the seasons? Why do they intertwine? Can’t even tell when one starts And the other begins anymore. Some winter days felt like summer, And some spring days felt like winter. I think summer will be hell sprinkled With freezing days and fierce winds. Not looking forward to the months ahead And not wanting to see spring end. The rest of spring should go in a Time Capsule ‘cause the future is unknown. Neither many sparrows, doves, nor Hummingbirds came around this spring, And the milkweed awaits for the butterfly. I don’t want to see the end of spring Because the garden is still waiting in full Bloom to feed buzzing bees and mockingbirds. Tomato bugs chose to stay away this spring, too, Last year we had five and named them all. Estrellita didn’t get to chase many butterflies This year, but she did catch a small bird that Lay on the garage floor for days till someone Found it and showed it to the guilty-looking Cat that rolled over on the windowsill and went Back to dreaming of a better spring. This nearing end of spring is giving me the blues And it feels like a good idea to get the house A good cleaning and I a good cleansing, too, ‘Cause everything around here is looking rather Gray, and that’s one color that doesn’t match With spring.
Martina Robles Gallegos was born and raised in Mexico and came to the United States at 14. She got a Master’s degree from Grand Canyon University after a near fatal hemorrhagic stroke . Her works have appeared in the Altadena Anthology: Poetry Review 2015, 2017, 2018, Hometown Pasadena, Spirit Fire Review, Poetry Super Highway, Silver Birch Press, Central Coast Poetry Shows, Basta! and more recently, in the award-winning anthology, When the Virus Came Calling: COVID-19 Strikes America. Published by Golden Foothills Press, editor, Thelma T. Reyna. Liz Baron is an artist and restaurateur who lives in Texas by way of New York City. She and her husband, Jim, founded, own and operate four Mexican-Southwestern restaurants. She got her Bachelor of Fine Art from Pratt Institute but stopped painting when restaurant work and family life consumed most of her time. She is grateful to the online art classes of Sketchbook Skool that helped her regain the joy of a regular art practice.
Helicopters sang out in the South Philly sky And morning wind blew branches against our windows.
It was the hour my dream swarm Twisted me pale on my pillow; When like a bloodshot eye darting and twitching, The last lamp stained the day incarnadine; Where, trapped in my surly body I recast the battle between lamp and day As my struggle between intention and accident, And like a face wiped dry by breezes, The air was full of thrilling, fleeing things— Anger, Change— I was tired of writing, or you were, You were tired of fucking, or I was.
This and that torched boutique sent up smoke. Somebody heaved a planter into another store window. The shopkeeper put the safety back on his sidearm, With stinging eyes dialed his insurance adjuster. Someone danced on a police car. Someone blew up an ATM and his hand off with it. Women who forgot to stop bearing children Mopped their brows and chewed on ice; It was the hour when, sweating and starving, They gave birth to their latest moaning and cursing; Like a sob cut short by foaming blood, A siren, another, tore through the fabric of morning; Buildings snuffled like marine mammals Bedded down in smog sea. Old ones in nursing homes, their minds gone, Hawked up last juddering breaths. They’d been abandoned As I sometimes wish to abandon you. Someone crept home, broken by stupidity.
Shivery Dawn in her green pink shift Crawls up the Schuylkill, into the parklands. Angry Philly, rubbing her eyes, Grabs up her tools again, that old worker.
–after Baudelaire’s “Le Crépuscule de matin”
Daisy Fried’s fourth book, The Year the City Emptied: After Baudelaire is forthcoming from Flood Editions in 2022. She is the author of three other books of poetry: Women’s Poetry: Poems and Advice, My Brother is Getting Arrested Again, and She Didn’t Mean to Do It,all from the Pitt Poetry Series. She has been awarded Guggenheim, Hodder and Pew Fellowships. Recent poems have been published or are forthcoming in Paris Review, The Nation, Threepenny Review, American Poetry Review, Subtropics, Zocalo, At Length and PN Review. She isa poetry critic, poetry editor for the journal Scoundrel Time and a member of the faculty of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. She lives in Philadelphia. Art by Karyn Kloumann, founder of award-winning indie publisher Nauset Press.
Man, always a social animal insists on social distancing now the new man of the virtual world evolve will the children born this year be intimidated to see the noses and mouths of the strangers on streets when the world throws away masks
Jayanthi Sankar has been in several international literary festivals, including the APWT 2018 at Gold coast. She loves reading fiction as much as experimenting with writing fiction. Her previous novel, Misplaced Heads, was on the Eyelands Book Awards 2020 final list in Greece. It made its mark – as an outstanding postmodern historical fiction of the decade. Her highly acclaimed work ‘Dangling Gandhi’ was the winner in fiction: short story in 2020 International Book Award American book fest. The Literary Titan award was another international award it also bagged apart from shortlists and nominations. She lives in Singapore.Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC. Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.
We miss the Oakland exit, rush haplessly forward— as vaguely to the south, the stranded Princess Cruise Ship—and
onto the Bay Bridge, off on Yerba Buena, head to Treasure Island.
“It’s landfill,” I tell him, “you wouldn’t want to be here in an earthquake. The whole island
will liquefy.” “Liquify?” “Melt,” I explain.
We drive past decrepit apartment complexes surrounded by a churning bay. Great mountainous
humps of soil where developers, we guess, are planning to build and make vast money.
March, somewhere between Oakland and San Francisco and a child in a puffy parka and a hat with earflaps
tries to balance on a kiddie bike. We scramble out on a rocky jetty,
walk back to the parking lot, look over an ersatz chainlink . See: a caved in segment
of road filled with seawater. Corroded pipes. As if
to warn us the instability is real, the road sags, lumps up with asphalt patchwork.
Abandoned office building: broken windows, thrashed blinds. Paint peeling off old
military buildings. “This is what I think Chernobyl must look like.” “Yeah.” As we get ready
to leave, I say, “There’s a market? Let’s take a look.” Inside we find what can’t be
found in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco: yogurt, bleach, fat
packages of tortellini, rows of toilet paper. “Take only two,” a sign says,
but no one is taking even one. A man with a cane wears a surgical mask
pulled down below his chin. We buy empty spray bottles, yogurt. At the checkout
a man talks loudly, rolls his eyes at our full cart, “They are making a big deal
over nothing. Nothing.” We let a woman with two small items step ahead of us.
The grim-faced clerk does not make eye contact, dutifully fills bags,
while the man talks on and on.
Elizabeth Robinson is the author of 16 books, most recently Rumor from Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press. She has been the winner of the National Poetry Series for Pure Descent(Sun & Moon), and the Fence Modern Poets Prize for Apprehend. Robinson’s mixed genre meditation, On Ghosts, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry. She is married to the poet Randy Prunty. Liz Baron is an artist and restaurateur who lives in Texas by way of New York City. She and her husband, Jim, founded, own and operate four Mexican-Southwestern restaurants. She got her Bachelor of Fine Art from Pratt Institute but stopped painting when restaurant work and family life consumed most of her time. She is grateful to the online art classes of Sketchbook Skool that helped her regain the joy of a regular art practice.
The day of the two-foot snowstorm (was it in March?), the patio chairs filled with broad-shouldered,
square-headed snow guests decked out all in white, leaning slightly forward, engaged in animated conversation,
old friends seated around a table laid in a thick damask, and, though they were chilled, I could sense their sparkle,
the heat they generated, and I envied them, yearned to join in the effortless ambiance of melodious babble.
Then the sun came out, and, like vanilla snow cones on a summer day, they began to puddle.
I grieved their meltdown, the inevitable subsiding, as though I needed more proof of impermanence.
* But now it is May, and, like a cicada emerging from a seventeen-year burial, I am ravenous
for your company. Dare we meet for coffee? I’ll put on that crimson silk scarf, the one whose ends flow
behind me like soaring wings. I’ll dust off my red shoes, find my old purse, drive the disconcertingly unfamiliar streets
to our favorite coffee place and greet you with a hug. We will sit down at an outdoor table with our cappuccinos,
shake off our cobwebbed cloaks of isolation and blink in this new brightness, a bit bewildered
by the screenless sight and sound of one another.
Lois Levinson is the author of Before It All Vanishes, and a chapbook, Crane Dance, both published by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in Global Poemic, Canary Journal, Gyroscope, The Literary Nest, Cloudbank and other journals. She lives in Denver, Colorado where she’s gotten through the past year by writing poetry and watching birds. Liz Baron is an artist and restaurateur who lives in Texas by way of New York City. She and her husband, Jim, founded, own and operate four Mexican-Southwestern restaurants. She got her Bachelor of Fine Art from Pratt Institute but stopped painting when restaurant work and family life consumed most of her time. She is grateful to the online art classes of Sketchbook Skool that helped her regain the joy of a regular art practice.
I’ve been observing a robin nesting in our juniper bush. I check on her again
while waiting for my daughter to arrive, my June-born middle child, whom I’ve neither seen
nor heard much from in these many months. The early spring temperatures recently plummeted and I worry
about the chicks’ survival should they hatch. I wait all day for my self-reliant daughter to appear;
the pandemic has been hard on her and I wonder where our conversation will wander. While
I’ve recently observed egg shell remains scattered in the juniper branches–little empty cup halves
of pale blue–I’ve detected no evidence of new life in the nest. My daughter arrives and we embrace without the need
of masks. It is good to see her face again; she appears to be whole and intact. There isn’t much news,
given these many months filled with blank days; she, who left the family nest early on, safeguards her independence,
and can be distant in more ways than merely miles. We walk through the neighborhood and chat; she fills
the space between us with talk about her new job and condo. She wants to be on the road before the traffic rush, and no,
she doesn’t need dinner, so we hug good-bye and I wave as she smiles and drives away. After she is gone,
I spy an egg, fallen from the nest, seemingly whole and undamaged (based solely on what I observe from its outer shell),
but then, what can I truly tell about the state of anyone’s survival when so much silence fills the space within?
Kim Klugh is an English/writing tutor. Her poetry has been published on Vox Poetica and Verse-Virtual. Several of her poems have appeared in two craft books edited by Diane Lockward and published by Terrapin Press: The Practicing Poet and The Crafty Poet II. Her haiku has been published by her local paper in Lancaster, PA. She was also a contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition community poem for Ahmaud Arbery, “Running for Your Life,” in May 2020. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC. Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.