by Dale Jensen

when the virus had worn itself into history
the wolf emerged from his hiding place
and bought a trinket from the kid down the street 

someone had used chalk
to make a picture of paradise on the sidewalk 

the artist next door dressed for summer
summer was something the wolf
had thought had gone away forever
eaten by a microbe even smaller than a snowflake
but here it was    summer    or something like it
with not even any cold winds

the wolf didn’t need cold winds
this must be a dream after all that the virus
had done to the world the last year

if the wolf were asleep he’d have to turn over
but when he tried to turn over all he could do
was spin    people thought he was dancing
and started to dance too    soon someone
was playing music and the whole world thought it was happy
the wolf was happy too    vaccine
he didn’t even think of cows
or of lambs for dinner

Dale Jensen was born in Oakland, California, and has degrees in psychology from UC Berkeley and the University of Toronto. He has seven books and four chapbooks out, has co-coordinated several poetry reading series, and edited the poetry magazine Malthus. 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.

Singing Soprano at the Senior Home

by Lisa Lynn Biggar

Stop that damn whistling
my grandmother would say
while we were digging
crabgrass from her yard.

And stop banging
on that piano—
the player piano at 
The Potter Game Club
where we would
gather for reunions
needing no one
to play it really,
the keys magically
playing on their
own, but I still
liked to give it
my own spin.

I don’t remember
my grandmother
ever singing, or
dancing, or even
tapping her feet to
any beat, but, now,
in the senior home,
post-pandemic, she
sings soprano in the
halls, the dining room,
the notes piercing, shattering
time, the staff and other
residents rattled, but
these are notes of survival,
of perseverance, and
when I sing to her
now, she smiles.

Lisa Lynn Biggar received her MFA in Fiction from Vermont College and is currently completing a short story cycle set on the eastern shore of Maryland. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals including Main Street Rag, Bluestem Magazine, The Minnesota Review, Kentucky Review, The Delmarva Review and Superstition Review. She’s the fiction editor for Little Patuxent Review and co-owns and operates a cut flower farm on the eastern shore of Maryland with her husband and three cats.Varada J.M is a 10th-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.

Grief: April 17th, 2020

by Nancy Agabian

My father’s frame is taut, bent from the waist but straining to straighten, and he walks like a toy soldier, one plodding foot in front of the other. I’m watching the news after dinner when he comes to me holding a plastic sleeve of orange cheddar slices.

         “There are four slices of cheese missing,” he reports.

         Born in 1929, the son of refugees, he has always been thrifty, saving the rubber bands from vegetables, sucking every fiber of meat from a bone, picking up grains of sugar from the table with a licked finger. I anticipate a complaint about my mother eating too much cheese.
         Instead he informs me, “It says on the package there are eleven slices. But they only gave us seven!”
         I try to clear up his confusion: “It’s not a brand new package.”
         “But I just opened it.”
         “No you didn’t. I opened it last week. We’ve eaten four slices. I made Mom a grilled cheese for lunch.”
         The cheddar’s high level of sodium endangers his heart, so I had made him a sandwich with mozzarella instead. He’s unaware of the substitution, just as my grandmother didn’t know, decades before, that he taped shut the holes in her salt shaker. An industrial appraiser, he was always coming up with mechanical solutions. Now the zip lock seal on the cheese slices has confounded him, the package appearing as new.

         This is the dance of dementia. Everyday tasks need elaborate explanation till they don’t matter. But now it’s imperative that he understand. This is why we wash our hands for twenty seconds. This is why old people must stay at home. This is why we didn’t wear masks but now we should. I have trouble understanding myself.
         “Four slices are missing!” he insists. “We have a lawsuit here!”
         Though one small part of my brain chuckles, most of my mind is fatigued. My father encouraged me as a child to write letters to the editor, to speak up against wrongdoing. How can he not understand there are more pressing matters outside our quarantine?

         There are not enough masks. Tests are scarce. Black and brown people are disproportionately dying. As of today, over 30,000 people have died and roughly 600,000 people have been infected in the U.S. They are numbers, sterile, appearing on the tv screen. Not 1.5 million, I tell myself. At least they’re not as bad as our own private genocide.

         Close to 200 folks lost their lives in Massachusetts today. The state lists the dead by their age. There are usually a few in their 50s. A bunch in their 80s. Today there are several 100s. Who are they? Old people who were going to die soon anyway, unable to count their last breaths.

         “Why did you even open this?” I ask my father. “Are you hungry?”
         “I opened it because it says there are eleven slices and they only gave us seven!”

I listen to his rage, a flag ripping in the wind. Our ability to fathom unimaginable loss, like a few slabs of cheese—missing.

Nancy Agabian is a writer, teacher, and literary organizer, working in the spaces between race, ethnicity, cultural identity, feminism and queer identity. She is the author of Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter (Aunt Lute Books, 2008), and Princess Freak (Beyond Baroque Books, 2000), a collection of poetry, prose, and performance art texts. Her recent novel, The Fear of Large and Small Nations, was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially-Engaged Fiction. She is currently working on a personal essay collection, In-Between Mouthfuls, which frames liminal spaces of identity within causes for social justice. A longtime community-based writing workshop facilitator, she teaches creative writing at universities, art centers, and online, most recently at The Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU, The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in NYC, and her own Zoom series, “Connected Rooms”. She serves on the board of the International Armenian Literary Alliance. Art by Karyn Kloumann, founder of award-winning indie publisher Nauset Press

Woman on the Train

by John Hicks

                                                On the 5:32 a.m. BNSF to Chicago

At the Lisle stop, their breath hangs in the air
like empty thought balloons as they shuffle
toward the boarding doors.  She takes the seat
across the aisle from me, slides over to the window. 
At Downers Grove, she checks her watch,
pulls her cell phone from her purse. 

             Hello, Sweetheart.  Are you already awake? 
            How are you feeling?  Good!  Did you sleep well? 
            I laid your school clothes out for you on your chair. 
           Don’t forget to brush your teeth.  Will you do that for Mommy? 
           That’s my girl.                

The Hinsdale station flashes by the window.  We’re an express
to Chicago now.  Everyone around us sleeps, heads pulled into scarves,
into coats against the cold.    

            Your breakfast is on the counter.
             Be sure to put the milk back in the fridge. 
            Yes, I miss Daddy, too. 
            Yes, I know.  Me, too. 
            Me, too.
            You’d better get ready now.  Mrs. Hennipen will be there soon
            to walk you to the bus.  Don’t forget your key.  It’s on your necklace. 

Brookfield passes.     

             I love you, too, Sweetheart. 
            Have a good day at school.  ‘Bye.            

Clutching the phone like a talisman,
she leans her head against the window;
falls asleep, nodding slighting
in the lights of the stations we pass. 

John Hicks is a New Mexico poet. He has been published or accepted for publication by: South Florida Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Bangor Literary Journal, Verse-Virtual, Blue Nib, Poetica Review, and others. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Nebraska, Omaha. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.

That Summer

by Jeana Jorgensen

A witch is worth more than her
herb stores and potions. And yet.

Oh, that summer…

That was the summer when I did not make jam
or preserve, pickle, or can, too deep in grief
to mind my craft.

Rows of empty jars line my shelves
and now a winter wind, a hungry wind,
howls outside and I won’t starve (probably).

Hollow heart, husk of a heart,
must I forgive myself
before I say: replenish yourself?

Jeana Jorgensen earned her PhD in folklore from Indiana University. She researches gender and sexuality in fairy tales and fairy-tale retellings, folk narrative more generally, body art, dance, and feminist/queer theory. Her poetry has appeared at Strange Horizons, Nevermore Journal, Liminality, Glittership, and other venues. 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.

Northern Lights Lounge

by Doug Tanoury

Sadly, the bar where we first met
No longer exists. It was shuttered
When the Governor closed all the bars,
And it never opened again.

The small stage where Motown’s last
Living funk brother performed
Every Tuesday night is dark
And deeply silent.

The corner booth where she drank
Rum and coke and me draft lager’s
Is empty and the neon of primary colors
At the bar are all black.

I remember the light shimmering
On her sequin top and me knowing
And lamenting my weakness for
Sequins of any color.

The lights will always be on for me,
The music playing, and the unfading image
Of her shimmying to shake the sequins
That fully colored that night.

Doug Tanoury is a Detroit poet who has been published widely in print and on the Internet. He has written a number of chapbooks including Detroit Poems, Merida Poems, Getting Religion and Tolstoy’s Ghost. 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.

something to sing about after Los Alamos

by Lo Whittington

                                                                                               Dearly beloved

I am gathering my things

after months of living alone.           

This time, it is possible the world has changed again.                         

Being absent from it, as I was, these months

I make no judgement on how that has gone.

when the dis-ease came, I went off course a


         (more than I imagined)

      and went somewhere I hadn’t expected.  

The last time this happened,                             ….we gathered together

after the mutilating “radiance of 1,000 suns”               

burst over us in Los Alamos,

We barely survived

     the consequences of separating 

           Radium  ☢   isotopes

–the nece

                ssary |


  step in the

      advance to |




That time,

we danced briefly before eating death as our regular meal in bomb shelters.

(And I hold my peace on how that went.)

This time after months,

of living within a small, cellular, galaxy,  


         bits           of

           m      c


robes to ourselves

we are ready to emerge.                                    ….to have and to hold

All of us                                                  

entering into the luminous bending fire

of survival, uneasy with new wisdom,

unchanged in our desire                                       ….from this day forward

to be with one another.                                                                      

This time I will go somewhere with you,

to sing about what happened here                      ...until death do us  part.

What else is as useful after such events?

Think what they might have sung at Los Alamos.

Lo Whittington is a writer in Iowa City who has maintained a blog for over ten years on living as a transplanted New Yorker in Iowa. She has participated in various poetry readings in Iowa City and has two pieces forthcoming in the annual Midwest Writing Anthology, These Interesting Times: Surviving 2020. Bill Mazza is a visual artist using chance, duration, and accumulation to reinterpret landscape as a relationship of people to their mediated environments, through painting, performance, and community-building collaborations.

My Children Chose Tragedy

by Katherine Hagopian Berry

as their bedtime story,
on the laptop my mother has skyped in,

William Shakespeare for Children, edited edition
primary as the choice she gives them spoiled

for comedy, so when they pick Hamlet
we are both surprised. Tragedy

is sad, I say. We know,
my son tells me

in his night-sky pajamas. Shakespeare
sounds fun, my daughter counters

winding the braid of her hair like an arras
around the room of her hand.

To my delight, they are breathless,
frozen by the ghostly stare,

Elsinor battlements, murder most foul
both agree Hamlet is a whiner

and I, grateful that they edited Ophelia
still feels a pang when he sends her discretely away.

Children’s editions are light in ambiguity
so Hamlet pretends, he loves, he obeys

enough for heroism, still everyone
is delighted when he skewers Polonius,

pirates and a duel, my husband and I
act it out with wooden spoons as my mother reads,

children howling when I am slain, twitching
on the denrug, eyes on the carefully locked front door.

Do I tell them of the time I saw it live,
at the Barbican, cemented, brutal,

all the golden threads of my life
five rows from the stage,

they were everyone mine, Hamlet, Claudius
every word and though I knew them all

I wept as if I had suddenly become aware
that all things die.

Katherine Hagopian Berry (she/her) has appeared in the Café Review, Rise-Up Review and Glass: Poet’s Resist, among other places. Her first collection, Mast Year, was published in 2020.  She is a poetry reader for the Maine Review. 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.

Stealing Visits

by Mary Grace van der Kroef

Can you feel warmth sent through panes of glass?

I cast them your way.

Do they bounce back?

Standing with the door just askew.

Only enough to hear words.

I see a smile hidden from sight.

It reaches eyes, crinkles edges bright.

Still a question,

Is two minutes enough?

Stealing visits with mailmen,

Is rough…

Mary Grace van der Kroef is a poet, writer, and artist from Ontario, Canada. She is a person of faith, a mental health warrior, and a lover of the simple things in life. She writes to bring light in to the world, and highlight those simple things she loves. Her work has appeared in various journals, including Dwelling Literary, Fahmidan Journal, and Hencroft Hub. 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.

March 27, 2020: Quarantined

by Virginia Beards

Oranges, some green stuff,

Milk, bread and lentils.

Requirements satisfied,

Needs still surging.

At dusk—entre le chien et le loup—

Pink and blue turn purple,

A fox slides along the hedgerow.

I think about the Sublime—

Manfred on the Jungfrau,

Turner dazzled by the Thames,

Frederic Church swooning in the Andes,

And that Dublin girl with seaweed on her thigh.

A Romantic aesthetic trashed today, out of fashion,

Obsolete, passé.

Fuck flung around like grass seed,

Awesome attached to every third noun,

And Lucien Freud’s bloated bodies

leaping off canvas to strut the national stage.

Trending, a head-to-head race to vulgarity. 

Locked-in, wine required, needs still surging.

Virginia Beards lives on in the oxymoronic Amish/fox-hunting farm country of southeast Pennsylvania after teaching British and European literature for 23 years at Penn State University. Her poetry book Exit Pursued by a Bear and Others was published by Oermead Press in 2014. She also has three short stories in Chester County Fiction (2014); poems in Scoundrel Time, and in W.O.E.—Writing on the Edge (U. of California, Davis), a critical edition of a 19th century British novel (Rutgers University Press), plus assorted “scholarly” articles. Other: an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College. Recently she won a prize from Scoundrel Time for the best pandemic poems. 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.