This day turns stale crusty like old bread tedium showing as first hints of mold
This day is liquid unable to gurgle its way out of a blocked time drain
This day is tired of being today unchanging, unlike seasons of winter melts and spring blooms
This day wants to be the last today This day longs to be tomorrow
Living in Singapore, India-born Uma Venkatraman is a journalist who has had poems published in anthologies such as Good Morning Justice, Along The Shore and Beyond The Hill, and online in L’Ephemere Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, and Plath Poetry Project.James Roper is the chief photographer of World Food, a book series from Penguin Random House, the first volume of which will be released in 2020. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
With a modern plague in the air, I excessively clean.
I wipe the doorknobs, the floor, my earlobes, elbows, toilets.
I am not catching Covid 19—because of my butt!
(I don’t even know if it’s scientifically possible—but, I’m not explaining that).
It is not my gluteus maximus that benefits—no, it is my cat Max.
Pristine toilets give Max the perfect chance to put his duck-butt
up high in the air and deep dive into the toilet bowl.
He comes up chin dripping, gleeful—I hope he drinks heartily!
Soggy bum. He’s proud—like we should clap his ingenuity.
I’m eagerly waiting to post a shameful photo on Facebook.
I plan to go viral.
Kim Malinowski earned her B.A. from West Virginia University and her M.F.A. from American University. She studies with The Writers Studio. Her chapbook Death: A Love Story was published by Flutter Press. Her work was featured in Faerie Magazine and appeared in Calliope, War, Literature, and the Arts, Mookychick, Bluepepper, and others. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Tali Cohen Shabtai, is a poet, she was born in Jerusalem, Israel. Tali has written three poetry books: Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick, (bilingual 2007), Protest (bilingual 2012) and Nine Years Away From You (2018). Illustration by K. Nizar, a multi-disciplinary artist from Kerala’s Kozhikode, who began his career on movie-sets doing art works before becoming a visualization artist for a leading newspaper in Kerala.
Dawn Wing is a multidisciplinary artist and poet based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her work has been published in Three Line Poetry, Haiku Journal, The Nashville Review and Qué Suerte. She enjoys experimenting with text and image using various media, especially discarded magazines from her day job as a librarian. Visit Dawn’s portfolio online at http://wingart.wixsite.com/wingart.
Most fix-its’re stumbled through, others not so much.
I finally do make my peace risks of electrocution
outweigh benefits mending drive- way light switch.
But a bad ankle sprain addressed early resolves
quicker than this septuagenarian takes for granted.
Sunday morning, my wife brings me Peets’ coffee, &
2 of us schmooze in comfy chairs, listen to spring rain.
She turns on iPhone that fell in her bath yesterday
then sound won’t work — though now somehow does.
Perusing weekly news shows, we cook chicken soup.
Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published in journals including Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, and New Delta Review. He is a physician who’s built and staffed clinics for the marginalized as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. VR Ragesh is a noted cartoonist from Kerala.
Shalom Galve Aranas is a freelance writer published in Enchanted Conversations, Stereo Stories, St. Andrews College, and elsewhere. She is a loving, single mother of two. Illustrated by Ramabhadran S., who is a 19-year-old artist based in Kerala’s Thalassery. He is a student of National Institute of Fashion Technology.
April 19, 2020, Harlem, N.Y.—“cell phone video shot yesterday at the 145 street subway platform in Harlem shows a group of NYPD police officers terrorizing a little boy for allegedly selling candy.” Tweeted @DrRJKavanagh
These are the days of Covid-19. What could that mother have been thinking? Her standing there on the subway platform Watching blue police hands on the brown body Of her son, hands that were not the brown hands That held him at his birth? What was she hoping Would happen with her words? Was she hoping Her words would have power, would activate ancient magic That would release her brown son from the blue hands? Did she think they didn’t understand who that boy was Who was struggling to be set free? Is that why She kept repeating the words Like a command, Like a mantra, Like a plea?
How many times Have mothers repeated those words In other days? ..at the Slave Markets, …on the plantations, …at the gravesites, …in the courtrooms, …on subway platforms?
Dead sons walking.
“I JUST WANT TO GET BACK TO NORMAL”
Already we stare in amazement At scenes from just months ago Of people touching, hugging without masks, without gloves, without fear, judgement, or suspicion.
When I stroll through my neighborhood, when other walkers see me and cross the street, I must remember
it’s just my shared humanity with the world, it is what I might be carrying that could pass on to them.
This is what frightens them– not my hoodie, not my muscular build, not the color of my skin
until we get back to normal.
Cynthia Robinson Young is a graduate student in English at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and an adjunct professor of Exceptional Education at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Her work has recently appeared in The Amistad, Rigorous, Freedom Fiction Journal, and Catalpa: a Magazine of Southern Perspectives. 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.
It’s May here. The sun is still high at almost six, and yet we can hear in the distance the loud calls of mating owls, the evening criers of a chartreuse spring. The noise-worshipping neighbors across the street are gone for the evening. Here on this porch yellowed with pollen and so much dust I sit and watch the neighborhood cats eat the kibble I scatter across the brick steps.
I wonder where the neighbors are now in this year when disease swirls in the air, but there are places to go, so many bistros and bowling alleys opened to the touch of believers who disbelieve. I wish I knew the heady high of being fearless, being feckless. A breeze stirs, and I turn my gaze to our narrow street where a child this morning drew long-haired figures in chalk across the gray asphalt. Girls in pink dresses, girls reaching across undefined lanes with arms long as telephone poles, arms nothing more than yellow lines, arms touching no one and nothing. Now and then, a car drives over the bodies.
The cats chew their kibble, and I wonder if the piles that I feed them will keep them from breaking the necks of those smaller than they. Science tells me no. In the distance the owls still hoot. They would devour the babies of these hungry cats, if they found them.
In back rooms of shopping malls, managers count money, a fraction of which will be theirs. Soon the child with the chalk will return. I will watch her draw more children in the street. I will tell this story, a story she never
will know that I tell. Soon enough, a sedan will approach, moving slowly. I will watch as the child will dutifully rise, step quickly, as someone must have taught her, to the safety of the shoulder grass.
Jo Angela Edwins is the first poet laureate of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. Her chapbook Play was published in 2016 by Finishing Line Press. She has received awards from Poetry Super Highway, Winning Writers, and the South Carolina Academy of Authors. Brooklyn-based artist Gina Magid has been the recipient of numerous awards including Guggenheim Foundation and McDowell Colony fellowships. She has had solo exhibitions at Feature Inc., Artists Space, and Ana Cristea Gallery in New York and Acuna Hansen Gallery in Los Angeles.
His paint boxes alone And stop smearing my little hand Across his new canvas
Ink streaks all over Messy
I smile and wipe my fingers on my Pants And walk away
And look at his colours Behind the curtain
Arya Mohapatra is a thirteen year old teenager of Bhubaneswar, India. A slam poet, she has performed her poetry regularly and has won the third place in the Rabindranath Tagore Awards 2020. Illustrated by VR Ragesh, noted cartoonist from Kerala.
The virus took the little coffee shop with yellow walls. People gathered at large oak tables, whispered secrets about finals and Friday parties. I inhaled laughter, carried it in secret. It took the bar that reminded me of a Hopper painting, jukebox playing Eagles and Lady Gaga. Here I talked Russian literature and Hoagy Carmichael, strangers speaking in gravelly and baritone comforts. But the virus left me Netflix, Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth talking monarchical privilege, Sam Elliott dropping F-bombs on The Ranch. I played their voices until the Internet stalled. Now I speak to sterile walls, words bouncing back.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.