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.