The Sadness of the Night


by James G. Piatt


The haunting voice of the western screech owl like
a human voice shrieking through the dark puzzled
thunder of a germ filled night, awakened my lonely
mind causing me to contemplate life and death. As I
listened to the howling coyote slinking through the
night on jaunty haunches searching for the world’s
missing cure, I wept for all the people that no longer
exist.



James G. Piatt earned his doctorate from BYU, and his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University. He is an internationally published poet, a Best of Web nominee and three-time Pushcart nominee. He has had four poetry books; Solace Between the Lines, Light, Ancient Rhythms, and The Silent Pond, 1500 poems, five novels, and 35 short stories published worldwide. He writes poetry to rid his mind of old cluttered things, and present fears. 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.  

Avalanche

by Elizabeth Edelglass


My mother flurried tissues,
like snow, dusting
every couch,

hidden beneath
every cushion, packed
in every pocket,

buried in every purse,
banking lacy flakes—
forgotten coin in corner crevice.

A slip of white
floe’d from every sleeve
at her wrist, as a wayward

bra strap might seduce
from a young woman’s
shoulder. I, the young woman,

repelled, averted my superior
gaze. Now I hoard tissues
in every pocket,

use and re-use,
boxes stockpiled
in the basement, toilet tissue

mountained
under every sink, towel paper
crumpled in blanc balls

dusting the kitchen
counter like snow,
extra rolls shoveled under the bed.

Shortages now, supermarket shelves
plowed barren. I never prized
the other shortages my mother

must have lived through, treasuring
her hoarded tissues,
fragile, fleeting as melted snow.



Elizabeth Edelglass is a fiction writer and book reviewer drawn to poetry during this year of isolation. While the media is flooded with year-end lists of 2020 horrors, Edelglass has discovered, through poetry, a few surprising personal notes of grace. Edelglass’s fiction has recently appeared in SixoldPrime Numbers Magazine, and New Haven Review. She has won the Reynolds Price Fiction Prize, The William Saroyan Centennial Prize, the Lilith short story contest, and the Lawrence Foundation Prize from Michigan Quarterly ReviewSurekha spent her formative years in the beautiful hills of Nilgiris before she moved to her hometown, Thalassery, to pursue a career in fine art. Her works have been in many exhibitions across India, and most recently to “Revived Emotions,” an international exhibition at Ratchademnoen Contemporary Art Centre, Bangkok. She served as the head designer for a leading Kerala based jewelery chain for 17 years, leaving behind an oeuvre of more than 3000 designs. Painting has always been her first love, exploring the moods of nature, and finding shades, colours, tones and textures in landscapes, especially focusing on her memories of Thalassery and Nilgiris.   

Across from the Senior Village

by Dianne M. Buxton


Leaves skitter over the field then scratch across the empty lot
A lot newly paved, unmarred by the prankish sneaker prints, handprints
Or other marks school kids use to immortalize their years here
The empty court is void of the sprints, spins and slam dunks.

It has been since spring, through summer school, fall, and now
Silent holidays, no closing game, no cheers, no heroes
That the doors were closed and locked. The magpies perch
Along the block where they once dived for the burger or

Sandwich tossed away. Someone at the end of the street
Has thrown out bird seed. Hundreds of the huge black birds
And pigeons compete for the pickings. What I don’t see,
What I never see, is a single senior from the housing village.

Are they afraid? They have a lawn, gardens, and small patios
And government subsidies for their rent. But where are they?
Their show has gone. The lights, smell of popcorn and hot chocolate
And the screams of the fans. Their connection to youth, memories, energy.

They had a front row view, across the street. Where I walk.
I walk because I must. I’m old too, but there’s no rest, no subsidy coming.
Water in one hand, mask in the other, I log my footsteps. I wonder
Do they peek out and see me and think I’m a ghost?



Dianne M. Buxton’s work can be seen in Caveat Lector, The Griffin, Sanskrit, the Writers Of Kern blog and will appear in the Writers of Kern Anthology 2021. She was a recipient of the Canada Council Grant at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in NYC and is a graduate of the National Ballet School in Toronto. 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.

Remotely

by Hilary Sideris


I teach a man whose face
I’ve never seen. I buy bright

necklaces online, Murano beads,
blood-red coral for Zoom.

His voice wobbles in fear or lack
of connectivity. I can’t ask him

to turn his camera on, he has so
little faith in his bandwidth. Was it

wrong, the way I used to scrawl
all over the margins of persuasive

papers, dog-eared, stapled
in the upper right corner?



Hilary Sideris has published poems in The American Journal of Poetry, Barrow Street Bellevue Literary Review, The Daily Drunk, Free State Review, Gravel, Mom Egg Review, Rhino, Room, Salamander, Sixth Finch, Sylvia and Women’s Studies Quarterly, among others. Her new book Animals in English, poems after Temple Grandin, is just out from Dos Madres Press. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

The Vagaries of Extinction

by Harriet Shenkman


I imagine us taking a table by a window overlooking
the Hudson. The waitress with two-inch nails stands by.

We’ll have a glass of Chianti and eggplant parmigiana, lock
eyes with the folks at the next table.

We’ll dab our lips with napkins that match the checkered tablecloth
and ponder the vagaries of extinction. Have a second glass, a third.

We marvel at the Aldabra of one hundred thousand years ago
evolving back into existence.

If a flightless brown rail bird can re-emerge,
the city life as we used to know it might just.


Harriet L. Shenkman is a Professor Emerita at City University of New York and serves on the Advisory Board of the Women’s National Book Association. Her poetry awards include the Women’s National Book Association 2013 Annual Writing Contest in Poetry, The Women Who Write 2013 International Poetry and Short Prose Contest and The Raynes Poetry Competition, 2014 finalist. Her poetry appeared in Union, Evening Street Review, Third Wednesday, Jewish Currents, Jewish Magazine, Jewish Quarterly, VerseWrights.com., When Women Awaken, The Westchester Review. Oyez Review, The Pink Panther Magazine, The Calliope Anthology, The Alexandria Quarterly, The Comstock Review, Indolent Press, Gyroscope Review, The Berru Poetry Series, and The Last Leaves Literary Magazine, Train River Press Anthology. A Poet-in-Residence at The Transition Network, her first chapbook Teetering was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014 and her second chapbook, The Present Abandoned, was published in 2020. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art. The photograph that accompanies this poem depicts the red light reflecting on the street from the Extinction Countdown Clock in New York’s Union Square.

Coronavirus Spring

by Peter Branson


‘That every house visited be marked with a red cross in the middle of the door, “Lord have mercy upon us” to be set close over the same cross until lawful opening of the said house.’ (London, 1st July, 1665) – from ‘A journal of the plague year’ – Daniel Defoe, pub 1722

Between 22nd Aug & 26th Sept, 38,195 Londoners died of plague, a far greater percentage of the population then that number would equate to today.


Back there, once it has taken hold, they know,
not rocket science, die-cast, there is no hope,
so prudent people recognise the need
for quarantine until the pestilence
has passed. The streets are wild with whispers, cures,
quack remedies dispensed by mountebanks.
Some, heedless of fair warning, desperate folk,
plunder the houses of the living dead.
Ours is the age where wizards charm within
the twinkling of an eye, both sight and sound
broadcast. We’re puppet masters of their world
made flesh, crave other senses too, the balm
of fond embrace, the salve of healing kiss,
‘Love conquers all’ the seal of tenderness.



Peter Branson, full-time poet and songwriter, has been published widely, including in Acumen, Agenda, Ambit, Envoi, London Magazine, North, Prole, Warwick Review, Crannog, Causeway, Iota, Poetry Salzberg, Butcher’s Dog, Frogmore  Papers, Interpreter’s House, SOUTH, Crannog, London Grip, High Window, THE SHOp, Sarasvati, Measure, Columbia Review, and Huston Poetry Review. His last two collections, Red Hill and Hawk Rising, were published by Lapwing, Belfast. He was shortlisted for a recent Poetry Business Pamphlet and Collection competition. Art by Karyn Kloumann, founder of award-winning indie publisher Nauset Press.



Sea of Sorrow

by Rajnish Mishra


The sea is at rest, soundless; no winds blow
Darkness, a distant din, wave-twinkling lights –
Those bulbs, the stars and the not so distant glow
Of the skyline, orange-red over silver-black sands.

Black is the colour of darkness that they say.
Black is the colour, I know, it’s true.
Black is the colour of darkness, night and day.
Yes, it’s black, but black of varying hues.

Some are the nights, when the waves roll

Under the moonless sky, the black of tar.
Some are the times that see the black with blue.
Such is the colour of night while the young moon glows.
Some are the nights of light – lamps near and far,
Lend light to sky black; black sea too,

As I wait, with a soul enveloped in that dark sea of sorrow.



Rajnish Mishra is a poet, writer, translator and blogger born and brought up in Varanasi, India and now in exile from his city. His work originates at the point of intersection between his psyche and his city. He edits PPP Ezine. 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.  

Thirty-Two Days Into Quarantine

by Lauren WB Vermette


I scream, an ambulance siren
on silent, red lights flashing,
not pausing to brake.

My vocal cords constrict,
raggedly gripping onto
a scream so quiet

the only noise you hear
is a soft keening
that doesn’t break for air.

I curl into the opposite couch
with my back to you
as I scream into my fist,

dampen the sound
with my palm
so it won’t break the air,

won’t make you worry,
won’t pause the video game
you are playing while I scream
to keep myself from breaking.



Lauren WB Vermette is an ink-slinger who makes her home in Dover, NH. Her work has appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Edge, Good Fat Zine, Hole in the Head Review, Lunation: An Anthology of Women Poets, and Rat’s Ass Review Journal. Her first collection of poetry, And The Form Falls Away (2018), was published by Senile Monk Press. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.

Pandemic Bird You Are My Highway

by Gloria Monaghan


All through March and April rains
I waited for the sprouting of the lilac tree;
the first fist of five green buds
split open to house a small pink cluster
tight buds so small you could pinch
them off and not notice them gone.
In your heart, you would say
that wasn’t me, that was someone else
pretending (to be me).

Robin in the backyard
you sit for hours unblinking
your red breast an affront
to the green day. In the discarded myrtle
the cat has dewinged you.
Now he presides over the strewn branches
licking his paw.
Sidekick he calls you, Robin
left as a prize, token, debris, spoil
of war not fought, slave of a king
unclaimed as you are in the yard.

I saw your eye outlined in yellow
and for years you did not blink but sat
like statue drawn up proud
left for dead.
                                    Only I knew you were alive dear
Robin.
The cat has his back to you for much of the day.
Eventually the purple light comes through
dark branches, and I turn away
from it and take to my bed unable
to read even the slightest notification.
The lead man gone, a plump, dead
grey mouse in the side yard.
Fly away Robin with one wing
and one thought, and if you can’t fly
then crawl, under the fence and hide
till this is all over in the shelter
between the neighbor’s woodshed
and my own broken, moss eaten fence.



Gloria Monaghan is a Professor of Humanities at Wentworth Institute in Boston. She has published two chapbooks and three books of poetry. Her chapbooks include Flawed (Finishing Line Press) and Torero (Nixes Mate). Her books of poetry are The Garden (Flutter Press), False Spring (Adelaide), and Hydrangea (Kelsay Books). Her poems have appeared in Alexandria Quarterly, 2River, Adelaide, Aurorean, Chiron, Nixes-Mate, First Literary Review East, among others. In 2018 her poem, “Into Grace” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her book False Spring was nominated for the Griffin Prize. Carolyn Monastra is a Brooklyn-based artist, activist and educator. Her recent projects, The Witness Tree and Divergence of Birds, focus on climate impacts on people, landscapes, and wildlife.

Alone

by Tom Barlow


Exhausted, I watch another body bag loaded into the
refrigerated truck outside St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

Above me, mourning doves perch on ledges, waiting
for my bread. Masked pedestrians cross to the other

side of the street, and even heathens make the sign
of the cross as they pass. A heartsick daughter stands

with binoculars in a window on the tenth floor across
Third Avenue, probably hoping to see into her father’s

hospital room, but I have closed the blinds in those rooms
against a sun that could only bring false hope.

All over town, ghosts shed their swaddling as they rise,
and the fabric floats down like birds gliding toward

strewn seed. I have never felt so alone.



Tom Barlow is an Ohio writer whose work has appeared in journals including The Stoneboat Literary Journal, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, Harbinger Asylum, Heron Clan, The Remington Review, Your Daily Poem, and many more. 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.