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

The Early Bus from Valverde

by Eliot Khalil Wilson


I will maintain the social distancing,
masked, mindful of my hands, way in the back
where you can see me, but I am not seen.

Ten feet, a waiter’s eyes, cautious and mean,
then a woman dressed in barista black.
I will maintain the social distancing.

Mechanics bring the smell of gasoline.
Windows locked, five feet, neither wears a mask
and you can see them, but they are not seen.

Walmart clerks board and stare at their phone screens.
Six office cleaners climb up and file back.
Welcome all to blue collar quarantine.

We move in held breath like a submarine.
Still there is distance though the bus is packed.
We will maintain the social distancing.

At the light idles a lewd limousine.
From tinted windows, smoke escapes the cracks.
They will maintain the social distancing.
They can all see us, but we are not seen.



Eliot Khalil Wilson has published three books of poems and won more prizes than he could ever deserve, two Fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Bush Foundation Grant among them, as well as prizes from the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets. 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

Dying Gardenia

by Carla Sameth


Talk to no one
about what goes on, the gardener
senses your hurt goes beyond
the dying gardenia. The jacaranda
that refuses to flower,
lemon tree that will not
bear fruit. Tell yourself,
it’s not a child,
a husband or wife. Still,
you feel the loss,
of scent and taste, a sign
of what?

Most poems in these earlier
pandemic days feature viruses,
breathing, bread,
and 7 pm cheers. Partying crowds
no distance. Like the LAPD.
No mask, travel in packs,
not protecting, not serving.

But the birds,
if it weren’t for them, hummingbirds
darting over Bird of Paradise, the noisy
ones like the wild parrots, silence
would fill your heart.

Oyster shell filled with emptiness,
missing pearls. Hold your belly
where you feel loved ones.
Touch your heart,
imagine ragged edges,
fissures like angel hair pasta
and fireworks. Gum
stuck under the table, landed
in your hair when you crawled there
looking for company.

Many hours I draft, trickle away
untended like the wilted
gardenia, left hot,
thirsting for days,
then drowning, spent.
I simply cease
to talk, stifled by need
to see your face,
touch your lips,
speak to you
unmasked.



Carla Sameth’s memoir, One Day on the Gold Line, was published in 2019. Her work on blended/unblended, queer, biracial and single parenting appears in The Rumpus, MUTHA Magazine, Brain,Child, Narratively, Longreads, Brevity Blog, Entropy, Full Grown People, Angels Flight Literary West and The Nervous Breakdown. Carla’s essay, “If This Is So, Why Am I?” was selected as a notable for the 2019 Best American Essays. Her chapbook, What is Left is forthcoming (November 2021) with Dancing Girl Press. A Pasadena Rose Poet, a Pride Poet with West Hollywood, and a former PEN in The Community Teaching Artist, she teaches creative writing to high school and university students, and to incarcerated youth. 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

Give and Take

by Tracy Thompson

Forsythia opens the show,
bursting slicker yellow and bowing out just in time for the main act.
Single-stemmed tulips and daffs, delicate Japanese maples in their cabernet kimonos. Magnolia trees this far north.
63,000 dead.
Dandelions refusing to be directed.
Cherry blossoms, dogwoods, crab apples, red maples,
highbush cranberry, white birch.
Weeping willow needs no introduction.
82,000 dead.
Hardy hosta appearing from nothing, resumes its place on the property line, unfurling verdant.
Azalea’s choreographed opening number, making their entrance like the Rockettes, colors that only belong in nature, stunning.
Lilies of the valley humbled by the showgirls, but sure of their beauty still,
apologize for taking up space.
Lilac provides the fragrant encore,
making a brief appearance to usher in the summer stock.
100,000 dead.
And counting.



Tracy L. Thompson, a resident of Schenectady, NY, writes from her dining room table while her dogs beg for her attention. She is a member of the Poets of Pyramid Lake, and hopes to return to continue honing her craft when the world re-opens. Her poem, One Does Not Love Breathing, is slated for publication by Welter in celebration of this, their 55th year. She is currently working on a novel, Where You’ll Find Me. 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

Chlorophylled

by Lana Hechtman Ayers


Rooted to this place
since air loosed disease,
I have learned to listen
to the trees,
how their voices
chorus ancient experience
of ceaseless passing—
            nothing remains
            but sun & other stars,
            even endless rains
           blow off into blue.

Trees teach to reach
beyond reach
despite scars of burl,
broken limb.
Preach to bend
whenever possible,
keep on growing.
Trees know all human
crumbling leaves behind
what is true—
            this breath,
            the next,
            each one new.



Lana Hechtman Ayers’ poems have appeared in RattleEscape Into LifeVerse Daily, and The Poet’s Café, as well as in her nine published collections. She manages three small presses on the Oregon coast in a town of more cows than people. 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

No Place to Go

by Jimmie Ware


I glance in the closet
Found something pretty to wear
Brush my hair
Go outside, I do not dare
It is unsafe out there
I’ll practice selfcare
I put on my lipstick
Still a hip chick
Pretty and over 50
Still blessed beyond the stress
Beautiful rings and trinkets
Adorn my fingers
Designs on my nails
Today my smile fails
I want to go to a real bakery
Eat multi-caloric treats
Meet friends for coffee and conversation
Share secrets or frustrations face to face
Even a walk in the park would spark laughter
A bit of joy is all I am after
Mindful of my situation
I am doing fine in this surreal time
My daughter will recover
No place to go but grateful
I am still her mother
We have each other



Jimmie Ware is poet of hard-won wisdom. Her writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s “Curvy and Confident” edition, Open My Eyes, Open My Soul, Southwestern Persona Poems, and Gospel Gone Blues, published by Poetry Box, among others. Jimmie is a mother, freelance writer, community organizer, advocate for women and at-risk youth. As a conscious writer living in unprecedented times, she realizes poets must delve deeper and stand in our truth as universal reporters. 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 work that accompanies this poem is entitled, “The Sun Came in My Window.”