copious prudence a surging wave of vigilance a veritable cornucopia of care
preceded by out of as in derived from rather than lacking rather than sold out rather than the empty shelf of bleach the favorite brand of tampons toilet paper and canned beans
compare with overabundance of caution meaning excess meaning too profuse an exhortation to take heed meaning look children up at the circling birds
the pretty bellies of the birds of prey how many above the playground an abundance can we count to eight a fat number more than the days of the week therefore
an omen of plenty but plenty of what
Lizzy Beck lives with her family in Western Massachusetts, where she teaches at a small boarding high school. Her work has appeared in Salt Hill, LEON Literary Review, and Harpur Palate. She is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. 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 crowded church cranks its hum to a shriek, then a roar, each noise skimming taut strings of muscle, the body violin. Eyes closed, I think soundless.
Go into a field; lie with your heart on the earth and give to every grieving child the exact thing it needs.
Pick up your shield and stand ready, strong enough to watch each day break into a thousand perfect shards. Sweep sable hair along the width of your lover’s bed, with photos of saints and gurus smiling from the walls. When neither yes nor no is true, there is always silence.
When you are a stranger, do you think you will walk into a room and someone will rise from the couch and cry, “Oh, it’s you!”? We are all waiting to be known, cawing from treetops, chirruping through the dusk.
Go into a field. Lay your heart against the ground. Climb inside the world and see through its eyes, ravenous, yes, a wolf among thieves.
B. Lynne Zika’s poetry has appeared in numerous literary publications: Poetry East, Exquisite Corpse, The Anthology of American Poets, etc. She has written for newspaper and radio and for trade and consumer magazines. In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. She received a Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction, and her photography has received the Celebrity Award and the 2020 Choice Award from Viewbug. The photograph that accompanies the poem is her own.
the burned out bulb in the antique floor lamp is special order, and back-ordered
the refrigerator cheese drawer cover broke off and there’s no replacement available online
the jet printer/scanner ink dried up but the replacement cartridge has dried up too
and the downstairs laser printer only prints if you change the network then unplug and replug in the printer after you hit print and before you hit confirm and then only every third time and never on documents that matter
upstairs, the toilet has sediment in the lines so we keep the tank lid on the floor of the bedroom under the armchair which wiggles when you sit on it
and fill a pot in the sink and pour water into the tank to flush
and the downstairs toilet is clogged no matter how many times Dan works it with the drain snake, so the snake dangles out of the toilet
and will until the plumber comes in 9 days
the cats killed the upstairs palm by shitting in the dirt and snapping the fronds so we moved the heavy pot outside but there’s still dirt on the wood floor
because the Dyson makes a high whine and has no suction and the old upright Hoover sucks only through the hose so I’ll need to get on my knees and my knees hurt when I kneel and when I climb the stairs
downstairs the front wall is taped and textured but not yet painted the floor near the wall is covered with plastic sheeting and stacked with tools
the cold water in the kitchen sink is slow though the hot water runs fine
and raccoons ate the goldfish in the plastic pond outside but the pump still works though the pond fills with maple leaves and pine needles
the washing machine died again and the serviceman is MIA so Dan – double-masked with a jumbo jar of sanitizer – heads out for socks and BVDs to our small town Walmart where mask-less crowds hang in the aisles and twice a week there’s a fist fight
while I post frantically on NextDoor for used washers ignoring conspiracy theorists and fearful MAGAs
and Dan comes home tired and angry and scrubs his hands and builds a fire in the woodstove because the furnace won’t be installed until February as it, too, is back-ordered
and it’s Happy Hour and we sip Laphroig and Viognier
and the Smart TV won’t update so we we sit on the couch scrolling news on my old MacBook which only works as a browser
broken like everything is but pretending we’re not
Ericka Lutz‘s short fiction, CNF, and poetry has been published in Literary Mama, Verve, The Slate, Green Mountains Review, Scrivener Creative Review, Sideshow, and many others. She was a two-time Fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and winner of the Boston Fiction Festival. The SF Chronicle called her novel, The Edge of Maybe, “an unconventional family drama and sexy satire.” She lives in the foothills of Northern California. 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.
On my evening walk, a high-pitched sound swirls through the pines, as if a windstorm were electrifying bare branches,
as if their cones were clacking together like castanets. But there is no wind tonight, only the bizarre buzz in the air.
Could it be the roar of my neighbor’s lawn mower? No, the shrill notes are falling from the highest limbs.
Years ago, I heard a similar ruckus at a Day of the Dead celebration. A couple were shaking their maracas so vigorously,
I feared their rattles would break, the beans spill all over the street. But when they varied the rhythm,
tapping the instruments lightly with their fingertips, the vibrations rose into the night like hummingbird wings.
I read billions of cicadas are returning to the East Coast after 17 years underground where they’ve been busy
digging tunnels, drinking sap from tree roots, preparing to surface into sunlight to sing their seductive songs.
Perhaps some have already decided to migrate to California and sprout like crocuses from our fertile spring soil.
Walking down the wooded path I’ve taken this long, silent year, I imagine hearing their come-hither calls, reminding me it’s safe
to inhale the evening air without fear of the blue-black vulture above. I’ve learned there’s a time for silence, a time for song.
Andrea Livingston’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in MockingHeart Review, The MacGuffin, Rust + Moth, the 2020 Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Sky Island Journal, Rise Up Review, and elsewhere. Her poem “Paper Cranes” received honorable mention in the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Poetry Contest of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she works as a public policy editor and writer. 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.
Fishermen know. I would come upon them in the fog, surprised both of us, creases in sand dunes like hideouts as the Pacific caught my shoes unseen until barely light and bubbles in the tide, clams talking
as loud as the surf. The men never nodded, just beated their poles out, knowing forward motion would save them, and soon the sun would rise full and they would lose their moment, pack up their gear, walk up to the parking, remove their boots, their macs,
and leave. Now in the second year of the virus retrospective photos show streets, cafes, whole city blocks shut down. Shuttered shops dovetail with protests against police, and now groceries
carboarded up again and my curtains came out uneven, one panel a nine inch hem the other uncontrolled, pins dropping with their blink blink, and I put too much pasta in the casserole, bechamel sauce taking the supporting role for even if we know the practice of sewing, of cooking,
we are not guaranteed the outcome of one year and the heat of the next— which terms do we use to describe what we cannot control and cannot name (though we name it) the arc of embers.
Laurel Benjamin holds an MFA from Mills College. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has appeared in Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry, California Quarterly,The Midway Review, Mac Queens Quinterly, Wild Roof Journal, Tiny Seed, WordFest Anthology, Global Quarantine Museum Pendemics issue, Ekphrastic Review Bird Watching Challenge finalist, Oregon Poetry Association’s Poetry Contests honorable mention, Sunspot Literary Journal’s long list, among others.She is affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and the Port Townsend Writers. Jim Baron is the owner, with his wife Liz, of the Dallas-based Blue Mesa Grill restaurants and TNT/Tacos and Tequila. He’s been a surf bum all his life, with his late brother Bob and younger brother Dan. He spends a couple hours every day painting water colors, and happiness for him is being on the beach with Liz, Kate, Zak, Ian, and Lola, the labradoodle, who runs the show.
Three-time nominee for Pushcart and Best of the Net awards, J.I. Kleinberg is an artist, poet, and freelance writer. Her visual poems have been published in print and online journals worldwide and on Instagram. She tears words out of magazines in Bellingham, Washington, USA.
Another broken line of thought about the pandemic sweeping the whole world
Two worlds dueling fiercely against each other within every space
Three spirited dragons throwing fires from the sagging sky
Four dozen celled chips occupying all the brain circuits
Five scores of tsunamis of dark matter invading from beyond the universe
Six hundred inner black holes sucking reason and feeling alike
Seven thousand fishes keeping charging towards the beach
Eight million mosquitos roaring together more aloud than lions and tigers
Nine billion viruses struggling to come out of Pandora’s box with evils
Ten trillion zombies and vampires marching along each road and street
Jumping from deep waters & among muted echoes of its own calls
A whale sings: Time to wake up, time to wake up, damned Humans!
Yuan Changming hails with Allen Yuan from poetrypacific.blogspot.ca. Credits include Pushcart nominations and publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among others. Recently, Yuan served on the jury for Canada’s 44th National Magazine Awards (English poetry category). 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.
Glossy photo books were tumbling from the shelves.
The Endangered Polar Bear The Wine Road of Piedmonte Untouched Appalachia Ghost Motels of Route 66
Our dinner guests used to leaf through these books while we lobbed cheerful questions from the kitchen, while we poured stuffed olives into wooden bowls.
These books had not been touched in a while.
And now, they were scattered on the floor.
My wife looked at me with the wildest eyes. Her hair was everywhere.
“The Appalachia book was sticking over the edge. That’s how it started.”
“But why’d you throw all the books on the floor?”
A tear slid down her cheeks.
“It didn’t bother you?”
Stefan Sullivan is the author of a novel set in 1990s Siberia (Die Andere Bibliothek/Berlin) and Marx for a Post-Communist Era: On Poverty, Corruption and Banality (Routledge/London). His poetry has appeared in The Secular Heretic, Barzakh (SUNY Albany), and on the radio with WNYU fm. He lives in Washington DC. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Double the market price offered by the hospital won over the neighbour bungalow owner’s sentiment for his father’s peepal tree he handed over possession and vacated instantly The skilled labours felled the giant tree and wondered why suddenly a variety of birds swirled around and chirped continuously
Inside the hospital an aged mother couldn’t understand what the doctors were discussing between themselves in English repeating the word oxygen and was anxious The next day her breadwinner son’s body was handed over to her
P. Muralidharan’s collection of short stories, Draupadi’s Only Partner, was published in 2021 and his novel, Boomerang, is ready for publication. HydRaW chose a few of his short stories for its anthologies. He is currently in the panel of judges for an ongoing interactive novel contest. Several of his short stories have been included in anthologies. His nonfiction BUBBLES BURST was well received. An active member of many global literary societies, and a poetry/book reviewer, he has translated two books, including Shashi Tharoor’s Why I am Hindu, into Tamil. 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.
Jane Attanucci’s poems have appeared in Common Ground Review, Mom Egg Review, Off the Coast, ThePittsburgh Poetry Review and Third Wednesday among others. Her chapbook, First Mud, was released by Finishing Line Press (2015) and her full-length collection A River Within Spills Light is scheduled for release by Turning Point in August 2021. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.Jim Baron is the owner, with his wife Liz, of the Dallas-based Blue Mesa Grill restaurants and TNT/Tacos and Tequila. He’s been a surf bum all his life, with his late brother Bob and younger brother Dan. He spends a couple hours every day painting water colors, and happiness for him is being on the beach with Liz, Kate, Zak, Ian, and Lola, the labradoodle, who runs the show.