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. 

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. 

In the Pandemic Garden

by Jessica Barksdale


The tomatoes were called Green Zebra
or Jupiter’s Stripes, these varietals
mingled with Yellow as Hell
and Orb of Gold or Total Nuclear
Apocalypse. Who knows?
They were all late bloomers, grown
from seed, trays laid out in the bathroom
for weeks before I tucked them
into their earthen beds.

But what a summer, COVID-19 a feeling
as well as a disease, the garden a slow-growing
pause from quarantine despite the snails
and katydids. Maybe I forced
the plants to stay small, so I would have more
to do. Let me water you forever,
they intuited, knowing at the end,
nothing but certain death.

Meanwhile, the Red Spangled Flag,
Cinnamon Stick Watermelon Big Ass,
and the Bursting with Overwhelming Joy
flamed with burgundy, scarlet, flame,
pulsed to the Make the Damn Homemade
Sauce sonata. Meanwhile, I watered
on, my dark shadow against the fence,
my back bent, stooped, me no seedling,
me the tender, the bearer, the crone,
the woman who holds the hose.



Jessica Barksdale’s second poetry collection Grim Honey was published in April, and her fifteenth novel, The Play’s the Thing, is forthcoming in May 2021. Recently retired, she taught composition, literature, and creative writing at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California for thirty-two years and continues to teach novel writing online for UCLA Extension and in the online MFA program for Southern New Hampshire University. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. 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. 

Empty, except for

by Kika Man


the birds, they fill the streets.
See their wings, their feathers, their excretions.
This town has never been abandoned,
even as the people leave behind
the unoccupied benches, the water fountains reflecting the gold.
Its roofs are broken and scattered, the dust has settled
on the pots and pans in the run-down kitchens.
And as the last inhabitant clears up
their space, an ant carrying a sugar cube the size of a caravan will move in,
an owl will watch them go, twisting their neck as to wave them
goodbye. Goodbye, and may it all go well.
Goodbye, and be safe.
Goodbye.



Kika Man 文詠玲 (26 May, 1997) is a writer and a student from Belgium, and also from Hong Kong. She has always been writing and playing and learning and reading. To them, all of these are one and the same. Kika writes about mental health, traveling and dreaming, about her mixed identity, about music and blueness. Alongside writing poetry, she is part of Slam-T (a spoken word & slam poetry platform). They have majored in Eastern Languages and Cultures: China at Ghent University and are currently chasing after a degree and PhD in Gender and Diversity and Cultural studies. Kika’s first poetry book will be published soon in 2021-2022. 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. 

The Summer After the Summer of 2020

by Connie Zumpf


Think of us all          together          planted

in the same summer garden      

snugged in a circle of weatherworn chairs               

yellow          orange          pink          blue        

heads bent in close          spokes on a wheel

inhaling communal air without fear          blowing rings      

over round cups of bittergreen tea

currents of scent stir in ribbons around us

peony          sage          rose.

Oh, how a body craves the spark          from a body          in the flesh       

sharing breath           from everyone’s words 

to see all of you          and all          

of you          and you

watch how you tap your feet          shift your weight

hunch forward          lean into my space         

look straight on          at me          so I know

we are riding the kite of our confab together                                            

rising          looping          diving.             

We brush elbows and hands          passing lemon          honey          rum         

to embellish our brew         

draw idle swirls with our spoons         

metal clinks on china rims          shiver of chimes from the linden tree

take in         each other        

never taking together for granted again

curls of steam from our drinks         cinnamon          cardamom

sharp and sweet on our tongues.



Connie Zumpf lives and writes in Denver, Colorado where she is a longtime member of Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Her work has appeared in New Ohio Review, North American Review, Pilgrimage Magazine, The Christian Century, I-70 Review, and other publications. Educated as a developmental psychologist, her poems explore themes of impermanence, aging, and the human curiosity to reach into and beyond the “self we know.” Her poetry chapbook, Under This Sun, was published by Finishing Line Press in March 2020. 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. 

Covid or No Covid

by Constance Camille


         For my brother

he said, after agonizing for months over
whether to institutionalize his wife
suffering from dementia.

This mountainous man—And I don’t mean
in stature, in fortitude—this brother of mine,
succumbed to the madness of in-home care,

chaotic days and sleepless nights of pacing,
noise-making—the unforgiving brain erosion—
waiting for yet another shoe to fall.

Wanting to protect her, keep her safe
from the spiraling viral cyclone, not wanting
to deposit her at a foreign door.

It seemed like cruelty to him—
to abandon her in the wake of her darkest hours.

                   [forbidden to see her]

For this is what it felt like—until the realization
he was at the edge of a cliff, rocks crumbling
beneath the one hundred thousand pounds
of steel he carried, and

[she would not know the difference
from her own living room to that of
a memory care common room]

she does not recognize him as the man she loved,
her viral-protector, her care-giver, now only a ghost
who floats in and out of her shell-like existence.



Constance Camille resides in Florida with her two Volpino Italiana furbabies where she writes creative nonfiction and poetry. She received her MFA from the University of Central Florida where she is the book review editor for The Florida Review. Her work has been publishedin Aquifer: The Florida Review OnlineBright Flash Literary ReviewThe Helix MagazineMeat for Tea: The Valley ReviewThe Write Stuff Anthology, and Sundog Lit, where her poem was a finalist in their 2019 Collaborative Contest. When she is not reading book reviews, she is on her patio watching Cardinals and Blue Jays visit her bird feeders. (Twitter: @ConCamWrites.) 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. 

Villanelle for Winter 2021

by Kimberly O’Connor


Today the cruelest question: how are you?
The freezing smog enshrouds the winter sky.
A prophecy, how smoke replaces blue.

A million hungry children, all on mute,
watch on Zoom as teachers teach—or try.
Today the cruelest question: how are you?

The wildfires start in February. Soon
a million forest animals will die.
A prophecy, how smoke replaces blue.

If I could sleep for seven weeks, I would.
I’m fine: I always answer with a lie
when asked the cruelest question: how are you?

The power’s out. The tigers in the zoo,
though saved from poachers, dream of their lost wild.
A prophecy, how smoke replaces blue.

Put on your mask and hope to do some good
in this world where both fields and hearts are dry.
A prophecy, how smoke replaces blue.
Today the cruelest question: how are you?



Kimberly O’Connor is a North Carolina native who lives in Golden, Colorado. Her manuscript White Lung is forthcoming from Saturnalia Books in 2021. Kim is the Young Writers Program co-director for Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She received an MFA from the University of Maryland in 2009, where she was a winner of the Academy of American Poetry student prize and the AWP Intro to Journals contest. She has taught creative writing and literature in Colorado, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Her poetry has been published in B O D Y, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Slice, storySouth, THRUSH, and elsewhere. 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. 

Isolation Times

by Mo Lynn Stoycoff


My home is a universe.
These rooms are worlds.
I am the ruler.
These are my constituents.
This pen is my constituent.
This coffee cup is my constituent.
Dog is my Prime Minister.
He disagrees with my policies.

My friends are people on a screen.
They are singing (because my friends
are singers) and arguing on screens.
They are helping each other on screens.
They are together on screens.
They are lonely on screens.

What is your Apocalypse Archetype?
The Lone Warrior?
The Opportunistic Entrepreneur?
The Slave? The Inventor? The Warlord?
Mine would be The Scavenger.
I would be a thief and a forager
but not a very clever one.
I would be whatever archetype requires
creativity without courage.

There is a new urge in me to look for things.
I walk miles, looking for things.
I don’t know what I’m looking for,
but I keep going, looking.
There is something comforting
about taking photographs.
There is something comforting
about foraging for nothing in particular.

There’s an aerial picture of the tangled freeway
I used to drive on my commute to work.
It’s totally empty, but for one car.
I feel my stomach drop to my feet.
The last time I saw a picture like that
of an empty bay area freeway,
it was broken in two.



Mo Lynn Stoycoff is a writer and visual artist whose poems have appeared in Poetry Now, Rise Up ReviewThe American Journal of Poetry, California Quarterly, Speckled Trout Review and many other journals and anthologiesMo works in the performing arts and lives in Central California. 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. 

Corona Worship

by Wilda Morris


It’s Sunday morning,
another month of Covid isolating.
I don’t rush to finish breakfast,
don’t put on dress shoes.
Don’t ask, Should I wear this top?\
Are these slacks too tight?
Is my lipstick on straight,
my hair combed right?

Live-streamed service starts. Only God
knows I’m in my nightgown,
my hair’s in curlers, my feet are bare.
I’m drinking coffee, nibbling a doughnut.
Only God knows if I say
on the Lord’s Prayer aloud,
if I sing the hymns off key.

God only knows how I miss
the Sunday hugs and the friendly hellos.
God knows I’m better off without
the coffee hour treats, those enticing sweets
and how much I miss conversations by the coffee pot.

God only knows how my heart is lifted
by the sacred music, how it soothes ne,
how the benediction falls like a dove’s feather,
how I start another week in isolation
feeling less alone.



Wilda Morris, Workshop Chair, Poets and Patrons of Chicago, and past President, Illinois State Poetry Society, has published over 650 poems in anthologies, webzines, and print publications. She has won awards for formal and free verse and haiku, including the 2019 Founders’ Award from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her second poetry book, Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby-Dick was published in 2019. Her poetry blog features a monthly contest for poets. She regrets that the pandemic required cancellation of planned visits with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 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