Across from the Senior Village

by Dianne M. Buxton


Leaves skitter over the field then scratch across the empty lot
A lot newly paved, unmarred by the prankish sneaker prints, handprints
Or other marks school kids use to immortalize their years here
The empty court is void of the sprints, spins and slam dunks.

It has been since spring, through summer school, fall, and now
Silent holidays, no closing game, no cheers, no heroes
That the doors were closed and locked. The magpies perch
Along the block where they once dived for the burger or

Sandwich tossed away. Someone at the end of the street
Has thrown out bird seed. Hundreds of the huge black birds
And pigeons compete for the pickings. What I don’t see,
What I never see, is a single senior from the housing village.

Are they afraid? They have a lawn, gardens, and small patios
And government subsidies for their rent. But where are they?
Their show has gone. The lights, smell of popcorn and hot chocolate
And the screams of the fans. Their connection to youth, memories, energy.

They had a front row view, across the street. Where I walk.
I walk because I must. I’m old too, but there’s no rest, no subsidy coming.
Water in one hand, mask in the other, I log my footsteps. I wonder
Do they peek out and see me and think I’m a ghost?



Dianne M. Buxton’s work can be seen in Caveat Lector, The Griffin, Sanskrit, the Writers Of Kern blog and will appear in the Writers of Kern Anthology 2021. She was a recipient of the Canada Council Grant at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in NYC and is a graduate of the National Ballet School in Toronto. 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.

Eating in Isolation

by Nancy Susanna Breen


I’ve risked drive-through from the start,
partly because I’m a horrible cook
(bad food tastes even worse
in lockdown), partly because
I depend on the human contact.
The fries and chicken fingers help,
but what saves me is sharing
recognition and greetings
with the masked figures
handling meals from the windows.
We know each other on sight,
ask “How are you?”
although there’s no time
for conversation. For days
I often see and speak to
no one else. Their smiling eyes
reassure me the world
didn’t disappear
and leave me here alone.



Nancy Susanna Breen has published three chapbooks of poems, the most recent being Burying the Alleluia (2019, Finishing Line Press). Her latest, Shutting My Father’s Mouth, won the 2020 Morris Memorial Chapbook Competition and will be published by New Dawn Unlimited. She isolates in Loveland, Ohio. 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.

When Your President is Insane and You are Washing Your Hands Twenty Times a Day

by Dotty LeMieux


You might not think these things are connected
the rambling disjointed press briefings
the directives from the CDC
steps we follow when doing
the distance disco
the seventy-nine year old head
of Infectious Diseases from the NIH
who still puts his hands up
to his face when the leader of the Free World
says something profoundly dumb

later you might drive to Tomales Bay to eat
sandwiches in the car and walk
along the beach at low tide and watch
the fancy footwork
of fishermen keeping their balance
on the rocky shoreline, while
cows on the opposite bank
make moving silhouettes
against the rain-greened hills

at home, you avoid
turning on TV until you wash wash wash
your hands singing
Happy Birthday or Sweet Caroline
or Row Row Row your Boat
until your fingers are as pruney
as those of a Russian
masseur in an overheated sauna

and when you have walked the dogs 
and see, to  your surprise, again —
as it is always a surprise these days —
the budding of spring   
regal blue crocus, imperial daffodils
golden poppies waltzing with their lupine lovers
to the thrumming beat
of nature  pulsing  through their roots

and you have come home and performed
the hand-washing polka
yet another time, and have fed the dogs, 
in that minute, between Judge Judy
and the five o’clock news,
which will only repeat
the daily death toll
the casualties
the common cruelty
of the new normal

only then, will you look to the sunflowers
on the ledge beside your window,
slow dancing,
turning their shaggy yellow heads,
a little later each day,
to the not quite syncopated rhythm
of the last ballet
of a dying regime.



Dotty LeMieux works as an environmental lawyer and campaign consultant in Marin County California, where she lives with her husband and two dogs. Her work has appeared in publications such as Rise Up Review, Beautiful Cadaver Social Anthologies series, Writers Resist, MacQueen’s Quinterly. Poets Reading the News, Gyroscope Review, and others. She has three had chapbooks published and edited the poetry and art journal Turkey Buzzard Review in northern California until the mid-1980’s. A new chapbook, Henceforth I Ask Not Good Fortune, is scheduled to be published by Finishing Line Press in December. 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.

Spotting Mars in a Pandemic

by Ann Malaspina


tiny flare
in the indigo sky
millions of miles
above the yellow house
next door– 
i spot you  
in my quarantine,
a prick of gleaming
light like 
me.



Ann Malaspina is an award-winning  children’s author and poet living in New Jersey. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her next book, Zeke the Weather Geek: There’s a Lizard in My Blizzard, written with co-author Joan Axelrod-Contrada, will be out in 2022 from Kids Can Press. 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.

I am in Taiwan

by Stephen Douglas Wright


It was said:
There shall be wars and rumors of wars,
Famines and earthquakes
Kingdom against kingdom,
And these things must pass,
Though it will not yet be the end

This year:
Australia was on fire
Locusts swept through Africa
My country and so many others,
Beset by disease

What else have I forgotten?
Even unforgotten, what do I omit?
The newscycle eats history and people
I don’t know if I’m in its mouth
Or watch from a closing distance

I worry :
For my parents,
family and friends
I don’t know if they are in its mouth
Or watch from a closing distance

I am in Taiwan:
The lion mauled the bodies of other earth
Only nipping the paw
Of this tortoise-shell island
On whose back mountains grow
And whose tragedies and wars
Have only been, to me,
Rumors and memories of tragedies and wars
Past and future
Covered by concrete and jungle

Here:
All my sadness
Of which these distant happenings
Are only a part
Becomes as insignificant as the sand ,
Carried eastward with the waves,
Until east, having gone so far,
becomes west And I, this sand,
drift back to my homeshore 



Stephen Douglas Wright is a poet and playwright from Michigan and living in Taitung, Taiwan. He holds a bachelor of arts degree with majors in theater, philosophy and political science from Aquinas College. His poems have been published in Aquinas College’s Sampler, and in Michigan’s Best Emerging Poets 2019. He will be published in Menteur Magazine. 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.

Time in a Time of Pandemic

by Mell McDonnell


Threads and spools 
liquifies 
runs river-like— 
mercury  
in silver oxbows 
circles 

makes moat about the house 

puddles, then 
pools 

II

Overflows moat
floods pool
breaks breakwater
runs, runnels, tunnels under
hours
days
weeks
months
plunges over
rocks, falls
rivets
to maelstrom’s
whirl
faster, deeper
churns:
sides slick as
oiled glass
deeper, deeper
hang tight
clench
branch, bow.

No, let go.

A feather
floats upward—

here’s Alice’s pool of tears
warm, salty
swim leisurely
in Alice’s company:
the  mouse,
the duck,
the dog,
the dodo.

III

Up from salt pool,
drops pearl from forearms,
drip from fingertips
to springtime’s garden—
deepest and deeper green—
time’s vine twines,
moves the moment,

warps and bends toward
summer’s reckoning.



Mell McDonnell is a person of several careers–as an instructor in English at the University of New Orleans, as a freelance financial writer, and as marketing/public relations director for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, University of Colorado, Boulder.  She is a member of the Denver Women’s Press Club and Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop. Ms. McDonnell’s poetry appears in The Silver Edge (Leaping Berylians Society, Denver), Third Wednesday (Ann Arbor), and The Road Not Taken: The Journal of Formal Poetry. 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.

Wild Light

by Mark Weinrich


We can calculate
the night breaking,
but never
the wild
and reckless moments
of morning’s
jubilation.

In the cages
of our time
we must open up
and leap into
the freedom
of this dazzling
gift.



Mark Weinrich is a cancer survivor, a retired pastor, gardener, hiker, and musician. He has had over 420 poems, articles, and short stories published in numerous publications. He has sold eight children’s books and currently has two fantasy novels on Kindle. 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.

At the Edge of the Lake

by Kim Michalak


What is it about the edge of a lake
that feels like a new beginning?

Is it the weeds, lilies, and reeds
sprouted from the edgewater
their faces uplifted toward the sun
necks not yet flattened against
the muddied bellies of turtles
and alligators, resilient

Or is it the proud chirps and squaws
of the herons and other water birds
reminiscent of elementary school
choirs, each on a different note
and rhythm, yet even the angry ones
manage to harmonize somehow

Maybe it’s the smell
of decaying earth, the matter
of all things, a mouthful of sweet
and sour symbolic of the cycle—
a grounding thing to remind us
we are all at the edge of something



Kim Michalak is a Florida-based poet, mother, and optical stylist. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University and is an associate editor at The Fourth River. Her works have appeared in Brushing, Rose Red Review, and Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing. 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.

Impact Events

by Laurinda Lind


One century ago now
pneumonia circled the earth
stealing all the air it could,

a virus that still cycles around
like a comet but it’s evolved,
like the salmon that swim off
sooner since the sea is so warm,

the hemagglutinin of H1N1
with the same crystal structure
as in 1918 but without bombing
the body from the marrow outward.

Did you hear on the news about
the woman who came back from
the hospital at age one hundred
after coronavirus, she’d had the so-
called Spanish flu when she was a baby,

too, enough of them didn’t die that
we can be here now for this rerun
with different RNA replications.
A doctor in my grandmother’s

hometown on the St. Lawrence River
cut the blue lungs out of an almost-dead
man ten decades ago and let fluid
run out of them as if they were a pair
of fish laid out on the table, sewed
them back in, and the guy lived.

A meteor will mow down
whatever it wants, so you might as
well just stay centered in the most
essential space in yourself.


Laurinda Lind quarantines in New York’s North Country. Some publications are in Blue Earth Review, The Cortland Review, Paterson Literary Review, and Spillway; also anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press), What I Hear When Not Listening: Best of The Poetry Shack & Fiction, Vol. I (Sonic Boom), and AFTERMATH: Explorations of Loss and Grief (Radix Media). 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.

Chasm

by Lois Levinson


You pick your way
through the rubble
in your quarantine dream
your legs wobbly
the ground crumbling
beneath you
a cavernous gorge gaping
between that luminous confection
you thought was your life
and that bilious vortex
on the other side
your recollection
of the time before
already receding as you
are sucked over the precipice
into the howling.



Lois Levinson is the author of Before It All Vanishes, a full-length book of poetry, and a chapbook, Crane Dance, both published by Finishing Line Press. Her poetry has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, The MacGuffin, Canary Journal, Cloudbank, Literary Mama and otherjournals. She is a graduate of the Poetry Book Project at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado and is currently at work on her second book. 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.