Covid-19 Narrated by Sigourney Weaver on a TV Special

by Hollie Dugas

This little lady sits on a park bench next to you,
a tiny orb of spiders, waiting for a human hand
to touch her. Romantic actually, what she will do
to get you to take her home. This is not about love;
it’s about incubation. She is an evolutionary
and she will move through you in just a week
like a hot hot wave. It’s impossible to pinpoint
what day she slunk inside you. And you are full
of her now; she is in your eyes, nose, mouth.
Afraid to take her anywhere—she is linked
so loosely to your arm. Someone might snatch her
from you. Take in a lungful and let her flood.
You are all hers now.  She is claiming widowhood
early. But, you can’t leave her, you cannot unstick
her from your breath, not after living so close together.
Isn’t she the kind of lover you’ve always wanted?
An apocalyptic baby, one who could ruin you,
a real Juliet to drive you to the end of thinking,
the type that gets you scrutinizing
what exactly you will live for when it’s all over.

Hollie Dugas lives in Louisiana. Her work has been selected to be included in Barrow Street, Reed Magazine, Crab Creek Review, Pembroke, Salamander, Poet Lore, Watershed Review, Whiskey Island, Chiron Review, Louisiana Literature, and CALYX. Hollie has been a finalist twice for the Peseroff Prize at Breakwater Review, Greg Grummer Poetry Prize at Phoebe, Fugue’s Annual Contest, and has received Honorable Mention in Broad River Review.  Additionally, “A Woman’s Confession #5,162” was selected as the winner of Western Humanities Review Mountain West Writers’ Contest (2017). She is currently a member on the editorial board for Off the Coast. Dana Carlson is a painter, illustrator, and web developer (by day) living in the lovely, leafy borough of Queens in New York City. This piece is called “Almost Batik Landscape 2.”

Unplanned Obsolescence

by Carol Aronoff

A newspaper headline has rendered me 
obsolete. Do not resuscitate over 60. 
I have been declared expendable, asked
to sacrifice my life for the sacred stock 
market–for my as yet unborn grandchildren 
I may never get to meet.

Of course, a number of those asking 
are rich and over seventy who have 
forgotten their age in a senior moment 
or believe they are indispensable–like 
George Orwell’s Animal Farm where
some are more equal than others.

I never thought of myself as disposable 
before, never thought I could be discarded 
like yesterday’s old news. In that world
where value lies in dollar signs and decimals,
where enough is never enough, how can
I protest my relevance?

Sit with me at the right distance, wingspan
of a turkey vulture, and share this fragile,
precious moment. Life can also be measured 
in the ways we love each other, in the beauty
we find anywhere, and in the length of time 
it takes to read a poem.

Carol Alena Aronoff, Ph.D. is a psychologist, teacher and poet. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and has won several prizes. She was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Carol has published two chapbooks (Cornsilk and Tapestry of Secrets) and six full-length poetry collections: The Nature of Music, CornsilkHer Soup Made the Moon Weep, Blessings From an Unseen World, Dreaming Earth’s Body (with artist Betsie Miller-Kusz) as well as The Gift of Not Finding: Poems for Meditation (forthcoming). Dana Carlson is a painter, illustrator, and web developer (by day) living in the lovely, leafy borough of Queens in New York City. This piece is called “Almost Batik Landscape 2.”

Hang On

by Richard Oyama

The train is at first sight sound, faraway
Thunder in a lightless tunnel
Like death-rattle. It is the
Days of war without end amen.

My mind is scraggly and
Disordered like my hair. I lie
Paralyzed in bed, reading Ulysses.
The Post tells me to drop dead.

There is a cone of light widening in
The empire of rats. The rough beast begins to
Growl. If you jump, it will eat you. You
Want that. Then you think

Hang on, you say yourself, hang on

Richard Oyama’s work has appeared in Premonitions: The Kaya Anthology of New Asian North American Poetry, The Nuyorasian Anthology, Breaking Silence, Dissident Song, A Gift of Tongues, About Place, Konch Magazine, Pirene’s Fountain, Tribes, Malpais Review, Anak Sastra and other literary journals. The Country They Know (Neuma Books 2005) is his first collection of poetry. He has a M.A. in English: Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Oyama taught at California College of Arts in Oakland, University of California at Berkeley and University of New Mexico. His first novel in a trilogy, A Riot Goin’ On, is forthcoming. Dana Carlson is a painter, illustrator, and web developer (by day) living in the lovely, leafy borough of Queens in New York City. This work is called “Thunderstorm 2.”

Deep Down Melatonin Street

by Deborah DeNicola

My childhood home, a tree house with misbegotten cousins, I am back
in adolescence, suburban space of backyard barbecues—even the dead dogs
barking again, smiley barks, and Happily-Ever-Aftering all over the swing set

with my sister pumping the sky with our heels—Doris Day herself
coming in on the chorus, Que Sera, Sera—then I’m roller skating
over the last hurrah of fallen cherries from the orchard onto our pink patio

and someone says “cherries” in Polish with a Brooklyn accent
and my peasant-stock ancestors—planting potatoes, picking asparagus
and tobacco, all chores on Grandpa’s farm—And Mother back

from dementia, handing out her favorite chicklets, red pony tail swishing
in silk scarves, the very ones I dressed my dolls in, as she passes the over-stuffed
celery slathered with cream-cheese, rolled up salami—tomatoes cut

like falling stars—as family fades out on the trails up Mt. Holyoke while
from the valley in tandem with the river Aunt Adeline rises over Rt 47—
toting one suitcase packed with all the loot she kleptoed as head housekeeper

at Smith College. When water reaches the second floor like it did in 1934,
the roses in Grandma’s wallpaper wilt  as do the warped lilies
on the linoleum floor—My God, I wake up exhausted,

attend my dream mastery to each archetype, only to conclude
I have a major part in the collective global complex—fear
of the newly infected world as it slides inexorably into hell,

how technology I’ll never master outgrows my skull like a psilocybin
beanstalk strangling neuron ditchesSo I enter my day swigging Isotonics,
boosting immune system with my smoothie-soul scheming for a new body,

new address, new To-Do list for these days upon days mise-en-abyme
like that groundhog film meets Covina 19—so another night downloads
its rote all over the blue  paramecium coalescing in my granite kitchen counter

and now I recall somewhere in the dream’s fathoms, a beacon of hope,
one auspicious symbol, my young son in the silver skin of a dolphin—
a god-damned holy dolphin! And how—scold of a mother that I am,

I bent down to whisper, Justin, Knock it off now—Stop  being  a  dolphin.

Deborah DeNicola is the author 6 books, most recently Original Human and an Amazon Best Selling memoir The Future That Brought Her Here. Deborah compiled and edited Orpheus & Company; Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology. Her awards include a National Endowment Fellowship. She works as freelance editor, mentoring writers via her web site. Dana Carlson is a painter, illustrator, and web developer (by day) living in the lovely, leafy borough of Queens in New York City.