Path Not Taken

by San Lin Tun


Braving enough to tread

on the leaves strewn path?


Just simply for wanting to hear

the crunching and rustling under your feet.


Even the wind that picked

those leaves off from the twigs,


Feels repentant

and makes atonement now.



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.

Now Hiring, Foodworkers, Everywhere

by Heather Bonea


She shadowed the black apron.

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,

and runs.



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.

Incelibate Separation

by Ken Gosse


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.

Sequestered with You

by Bob McNeil


It matters less

now that dark curtains

veil our view.

In isolation

days, elliptical as haiku

end quickly,

yet our nights

scroll out to an epic length.

The season dons dour hues

that contrast

with the carnival-celebratory shades

dancing to our upbeat bond. 

Long before the seasonal coldness,

the world became frigid from fear. 

Under the covers,

our oasis,

we kiss

and disregard every part

of the outside.    



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.

End of Spring

by Martina Robles Gallegos


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. 

Daybreak

by Daisy Fried


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 AdviceMy 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

Untitled

by Jayanthi Sankar


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.

Treasure Island


by Elizabeth Robinson


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. 

Snow Guests

by Lois Levinson


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 PoemicCanary Journal, GyroscopeThe 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. 

Observations

by Kim Klugh


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.