The Coils

by Brenda Coultas

I paid a visit to my vessel, made of clay, unfired, and waiting inside a bag

I gave it a dip of water

The weather was humid and sunny, but elsewhere snow

And the clouds, we took personally

We decide to sit on the shelf for a while

 To reconsider the shape and purpose

Of which I prefer that the pot had none

That we just exist for mutual pleasure

Making a pot is like kneading bread. We run clay through a ringer, and I am sure that I am the only person reading this who ever saw a ringer washer in use. How dangerous to get your hand caught, but back to the coils and slip. I am really going to town now. Rolling out ropes of clay and building walls and using a wooden wedge to make the coils disappear and become a charming pencil holder. I am cooking now with my coil pot; we are talking of UFO’s, of how dirty the potter’s wheel is and how we are learning to throw pots from YouTube videos. And we need more water and we argue over what is and is not a painting? We decide to keep on loving and to wash our hands up to elbows.

I taped to the wall “Ask for what you want”  and “Dig deep” a quote from a friend

and made an altar of blackish fan shells, some with barnacles and soft spikes.

Once I planned to live inside that famous nautilus shell shaped house in Woodstock.

I could live in a bus easily. The drawback: my own stink

I miss that paper cup (new) feeling and enjoy drinking tea out of a plastic quart container with a big mouth/ A wrinkle is forming on my lip even though I have never been a smoker/ Big pink, this is not/ Ohayo Mountain house this is not/ I allow myself to feel homesick/ This poem was written with a full face of bronzer and sparkles/ At full capacity/ During an abundance/ Spoon clangs against porcelain/ Phones off  and I am writing from inside of two black t-shirts, long sleeves under capped ones, olive-green cropped pants and braless.

Brenda Coultas’ poetry can be found in Bomb and Brooklyn Rail and the anthologies Readings in Contemporary Poetry published by the  DIA art foundation, What is Poetry (Just Kidding, I Know You Know) Interviews from the Poetry Project newsletter, (1983-2009) and Symmetries Three years of Art and Poetry at Dominque Levy. This spring she completed an artist residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Captiva, Florida. 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.

Ode to COVID-19

by Sarah Lilius

We wait for the apocalypse because the new human condition keeps us up at night. 
I stockpile food from three different sources for when the quarantine is set.
When I wake in the depth of early morning, there is a hum of the motor that keeps us alive.
Once I saw the massive green metal box that houses the engine, the important secret.
Men in suits everywhere are dropping down sewer grates.
They stopped killing chickens, for now.
I hear that in the country you can see the orange haze over the city existing like a net.
I constantly clean my hands, 20 seconds each time, then sanitize like some fool.
Soap and sanitizers run low and celebrities start falling ill.
It won’t be long after Hollywood caves into the Earth.
The soldiers don’t bang on doors, they stand around thinking about donuts.
Everyone coughs enough to make a new pop song.
I heard Taylor Swift is still alive and available.
The fires haven’t started but all of the Pizza Huts are closing without further notice.
Spring still pushes the world into weather patterns we need to feel human again.
Emails roll in that everything is closing, everywhere is cautious.
Airborne, it will find us waiting in line at Target where only two lines are open.
I tried to buy a thermometer at the store, but they were sold out.
I tried to buy a thermometer online, but the internet sold out.
The thermometer factories explode and now they’re sold out.
Our fevers are detected from the touch of a hand against a burning forehead.
This is where the fire starts.

Sarah Lilius is the author of five chapbooks including GIRL (dancing girl press, 2017) and the forthcoming Traffic Girl (Ghost City Press, 2020). Publication credits include the Denver Quarterly, Court Green, Tinderbox, Fourteen Hills, Boulevard and forthcoming in the Massachusetts Review. She lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and two sons. Illustration: “Santorio Sanctorius Thermometer Burn in COVID Times” by Karyn Kloumann, , founder of an award-winning indie press, Nauset Press.The balloon shows a woodcut of the first iteration of a thermometer, created by Santorio Santori (1561–1636).


by T.S. Leonard

and again? Honey,
we’ve been over this:

The bees knew what they were doing long before
we took notice. We were only just recently
stomping around colonies, giving names, taking
honey—the queens we’ve made before us bow,
on the order of our kings. Oh, invasive species!

if we want to live then we have better learn
how to adapt: it takes us wheels, at least, &
wheels to see the patterns, the threats. But
Japanese bees, eventually, evolved to beat
the giant: they learned to swarm together

and circle the monster, to overheat the beast.
And next time you see a monarch, don’t call it
graceful, when to them it must be power: beating,
beating wings. Remember how long & hard we’ve
tried to fly—the wheel was not enough. But maybe

you, a lowly worker, might have the right
idea: It could take years to change, or to reach
the ears of a queen—the need may outlive us—
well, so be it. If we unlearned the wheel once
then, honey, we can learn to grow again, and

again, and

T.S. Leonard is a writer and performer based in Portland, Oregon. Leonard is the author of the poetry chapbook The Year in Loss and Faggotry, the audio project Even Still They Shook, and the queer obscenities of the band Soft Butch. Their short fiction has appeared in Buckman Journal and Frontera; their essays have been published in Old Pal, The New Territory, and Missouri Life. A proud after-school art teacher, they still believe in the future. Ralph Almeida is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and creates in Brooklyn, NY.

there is bravery in waiting

by Ellen Huang

They don’t tell you that, you see, but there’s courage
as you throw open the curtains to an icy mansion,
clean the floors your luciferian cat trod upon,
eat at the beast’s castle, learn that you yourself are the beast,
waiting for the warmth of sweet love.

There’s daring in seeing every day
the palace in the clouds, so distant
from your window, wondering if they hear.
There’s resistance in simply sleeping
where the spell ordained dying.
prayers in the wishing, in the crying

from our towers, pining to be real
and all that made us human before—
There is power in the waiting,
like the ancients, while wanting more.

Ellen Huang is published in 50+ venues and runs a blog in which she explores faith, fairy tales, and film. She has been told her nostalgic movie scene reenactments brought light during these hard times. Follow if you wanna: Varada J.M. is a 9th grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public school, Vadakara here. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films and frets at night. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

Two Poems

by Hafis Anvar

Dreaming Summer Trapped in a Rain Room

Puzzles consume the last drops of venerated greens—
of caffeine, of corrugated hemp, of sanity,
and its corroded edges. DJ traps the betrayed
restlessness of wet feet into the mocking tap tap
of rhythm-lorn toes poking the soft underbelly
of distorted tapes. Aimless branches of mighty teaks
put yet another rabbit into the hole in the clouds.
Use that thick lifestyle magazine here and there.
Strike down all those greedy termites of wings—
wrong time to have a sunbath under the white light
of CFL, its almosting July June. Boredom counts
the legs of beetles trapped in windowpanes.
I wish for a pet anteater. So curved and perfected
like cuddling girls of monsoon, curling up like millipedes.
Water penetrates the many beehive hymens
Of the stubborn breadfruit tree. 
Exasperated hare-eyes of grass. The greens of it,
look away from the monsoon overdosed yellow—
from the roots, beg another summer.

Paper Towels

Telephone is sad and is feeling cold
On my table,
some old pictures with no footnotes
Papers with straight lines drawn on them
Just straight lines that intercept,
at absurd angles

Silvervine in water turning,
weird blue at roots.
The paper towels
I sent them back to you in last July,
said its raining and I don’t cry that much
Last November, we walked

barefoot on the turf, talked
about Orion and Crux
You said we hunt, or we carry
the cross, and life
is like catching a large avenue,
with the tiny lens of a camera
It stays there, maybe for a moment
At least for a moment, then you walked

Telephone is off the hook;
I am not expecting your call,
May be some paper towels

Hafis Anvar is a poet who spends time between Tiruvannamalai and Rajastan. VR Ragesh is a noted cartoonist from Kerala.

Lockdown Exercise +7

by Winston Plowes

In April 2020 the police in England elaborated upon Government advice and issued a list of ‘Reasonable Excuses’ for people who wanted to go outside during lockdown. Their list of dos and don’ts regarding exercise have been subjected to Jean Lescure’s Oulipian process of N+7, where every noun is replaced with the seventh one following it in a dictionary. Minor editing has also taken place.


– When it comes to exile, you’re allowed to go for a run or cypher outside. Plus you’re also allowed to go for a walk as a clairvoyant with coupon and prankster yoga.

– Attending to an almond is also legal, the doer says.
– Plus – in a clarification that may survey many – the guises allow a droplet to the coupon for a walk, so long as the malefactor of your designated timpanist is spent supposedly walleting the droplet.
– As for the much debated tornado of skater dowse? The politico confirm that this is allowed when stopping for an exile breakwater or echo lurk only.


– Sunbathing for long periwinkles in the parliamentarian is not permitted.
– The exile guises make it clear that any triumph where you spend the malefactor of your timpanist resting is not allowed (e.g. a short walk to a parliamentarian beneficiary, where you then sit for a housefather).
– The droplet for a prolonged periwinkle with only a brigand stoat exile at the enema is also not permitted.

Winston Plowes shares his floating home in Calderdale UK with his seventeen-year-old cat, Sausage. He teaches creative writing in schools, universities and to local groups while she dreams of Mouseland. His latest collection, Tales from the Tachograph was published jointly with Gaia Holmes in 2018 by Calder Valley Poetry. 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.

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast

by Karen Green

Chocolate cake for breakfast
I’ll let you think
it’s a treat
a celebration we continue

a birthday

We did all the usual things
strung bunting
wrapped gifts
sang songs

accepted well wishes over the phone
across the driveway

You stay in the car
we’ll stand on the path

The cat enjoys the boxes
from all of the deliveries we receive now

Their contents represent a sliding scale
of necessity
this hierarchy
what day is it?

Books puzzles sweatpants
cherry red skillets

The cat jumps from one box to another
chooses the smallest
falls asleep

We are jealous of the creature
who wants walls touching her
on all four sides

My husband still has a job today
so the boxes keep coming

The lilacs are blooming outside the window
where I’ve placed my desk
to pantomime work
the words won’t place themselves in straight
lines neat order

but the flowers are blooming
and the cardinals eat all the seed I put out
chirping loudly when the bounty runs low
or the squirrels move in to pillage the remains

And we eat chocolate cake for breakfast to
prolong a celebration to
spoil ourselves as the boxes gets smaller to

leave it one more day
before I admit the cupboards are nearly bare

Mother Hubbard
would not have been afraid to
to the store

Karen Green is a freelance writer and mother of two in Chatham, Ontario. Her creative and editorial work has appeared in Room Magazine, CNF, The Rumpus (upcoming), 50 Haikus, and many other venues. 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.

Ode to Rose Hips

by Deborah Purdy

Because you remain —
A handful of rose hips speckling
my desk like slips of paper
next to other scraps
and segments —

Now like crumpled keepsakes,
you were plucked from a shrub
when we stopped to admire the carousel
as we walked along the Potomac River
one airless June afternoon.

Later that day, I held you in my hand
like fresh scarlet berries, inside the Gaylord,
where in the cool air captive birds,
errant like loose longings,
rose to the sky in the nineteen-story atrium.

In that false world of gardens
and streams sunset was magnified.
The birds steered toward the sky as if
endeavoring to ascend with the planes
on the other side of the glass.

Now, on the other side, a few years later,
you are here. I don’t know what happened
to the birds, but you are here, a little wrinkled
and dim, paper-skinned and lightweight
in my hand, where we are all inside.

Deborah Purdy lives outside Philadelphia where she writes poetry and creates fiber art. Her work has appeared in Gravel Literary Magazine, Cleaver Magazine, The American Poetry Journal, and other publications. Illustration by V.R. Ragesh, who is a noted cartoonist from Kerala.

Two Poems

by Fizza Abbas


I still remember physics class
at school,
‘It’s nothing but a plane curve
that works under the influence of gravity’,
my teacher said.

I did not know curves need an armour too,
often I wondered.

Now, when they tell me the death toll,
I create an imaginary line,
joining the locus of points
but it doesn’t become a curve.

Perhaps the ball is still ahead of the curve!


I thank the debris
from my clay house,
for providing a three-course meal
to my little ones
amid pandemic

Fizza Abbas is a freelance content writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. She is fond of poetry and music. Her works have been published on many platforms including Poetry Village and Cabinet of the Heed. 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

And Now

by Hollis Kurman

If butterflies could claw deep, draw
blood, not just light and flutter, then
they would be our conversations, our not
touching, anchors as winds steal pages,
flit and table tilt, our magnet energy and its
skittish opposite; our breath unbreathed.

All sleight of wing and distraction, the
burn and zag turning heads despite
bright blossomed backgrounds, touching
just enough to stir, heal, droplets recalling
pools, occasional oops, never long enough
to wound or unwind, unholy time this time.

Hollis Kurman lives in Amsterdam and is contributing Editor on the Board of Barrow Street Books. Her poems, one nominated for a Pushcart Prize, have been published in multiple journals; e.g., Barrow Street, Rattle, Phoebe, OSR, and Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine.  Her début children’s book, Counting Kindness: Ten Ways to Welcome Refugee Children, will be published this year in eight countries with an endorsement by Amnesty International. Eva Mantell lives and works in Princeton, NJ. Her artwork has been exhibited at the Jersey City Museum, Hunterdon Museum, Bernstein Gallery at Princeton University, The Institute Library in New Haven, and Soho20, and is upcoming at Ellarslie Museum in Trenton, NJ.