Apocalypse dreams day two

by Eric Hayward


Probably all of us have these
I can’t see your skull but I’m pretty sure
there’s a space for the end of the world
built into every human brain, and
of course it opens up wider every night
when all the vessels vasodilate
to shepherd in the floods of bloods

This dream was about the Pope
getting sucked into a sudden
swirling sinkhole in
the center of the sea

The next morning I woke up at 5
to beat the toilet paper lines 
and gather my family 
to plan for catastrophe



Eric Hayward is a professional health care writer and acupuncturist. Like many, he was swept along last April by an early wave of worldwide layoffs. He has since landed upright again, and looking back over the past year’s writings, was surprised by how many of his normally non-topical poems were touched off by the pandemic. Eric writes fiction and poetry from his adopted home in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where he lives shoulder-to-shoulder with his wife, teenaged children, and a normally out-of-state college student, all of them working and studying from home. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

WHO GOES TO BARS ANYMORE?

by Tracey Knapp


Nobody here, because this is a pandemic poem.

I didn’t want to write one. I didn’t want to love

someone once, which actually worked

for a while. You never really know what

you’re good at.  Brushing my teeth three times

a day is not my forte. Who cares?

Really, are you sitting at home

worried that I might lose a tooth? Probably      

not. You’re probably glad I wore a mask

to Target today while buying everything bagels

and cat litter. My days are so boring.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this poem bored you.

I’m just going to keep writing though, hoping

my inner elk fleets to the tree behind some

barn in a much different poem.       

In it, I would describe my lover licking

the space between my breasts—wouldn’t that

be hot? But I’d need a lover then, and some

reason to dump him at the end of this poem,

I think I just did. We’re over. So sorry.



Tracey Knapp is a poet living in Berkeley, CA. Knapp’s first full-length collection of poems, Mouth, was published by 42 Miles Press. Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Poetry Daily, RattleFive Points, San Diego Poetry Annual and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has work forthcoming in the anthology Sh!t Men Say to Me: A Poetry Anthology in Response to Toxic Masculinity. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

Mis(s)connection

by Caitlin Mundy


I miss subway stations. 
There’s something about a train rushing 
in, blowing my hair as it comes, and new 
people seemingly materializing from nowhere 
and then 
in almost no time at all, 
others being swept away. 
Everyone on their way 
to somewhere.
All headed in different directions, 
yet on our way 
together. In this moment
together. 

I miss crowds. 
I miss searching faces 
I don’t think I’ve ever seen before 
and wondering if maybe I have, 
in this life 
or another. It’s the beginnings, 
the chance encounters, 
the moments 
when you step out of your front door 
head first into a conversation about the meaning of life 
with a complete stranger. 
Two paths on completely different trajectories 
that just happen to cross 
for a brief moment, 
throwing your whole path off course, 
then diverging back 
into the void 
of the parts of the world you know nothing about. 

Or the moments when they don’t cross 
and I wonder
about the possibility 
that my life has been spinning around 
the person sitting behind me on the bus,
two bodies orbiting each other 
always
just missing the other, 
just on the verge of meeting.
Just on the verge of becoming.

I miss potential. Potential 
that doesn’t show up 
when I am grabbing my groceries and staying 
as far away from every other human as I can 
before running back into my cave. 
In my cave, I have no more could-become
to wonder about. But at least 
I still have my briefly-were
to remember. To realize 
how the guy I drunkenly explained 
physics to at a party 
and never saw again, 
or the girl with the baby 
I sat next to on an airplane, 
may have shaped the curves 
of my line more than I knew. 
More than I know, still. 
How I am craving being rocked off course 
again. How I am craving 
being. 



Caitlin Mundy is a Canadian poet, traveller, and recent graduate of mathematics. In the summers you can find her planting trees in the north and dreaming up new adventures to have. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

Vaccine Tango with the Red Red Rose

by Meghan Sterling


In the dream, Covid like a maraschino cherry in my arm,

traveling down veins full of syrup, red as iron, red as

a bead in my ear. You shook with rage in the driver’s seat,

almost collided with a woman asking for change. No one

was wearing a mask anywhere, not in the library at my

book signing, not at the vaccine clinic, not on the street

thronging with basket weavers. The Bandaid on my arm

was holding in my sickness like stage fright. Swallow

and step onto the stage. Covid was making me bold,

the way it bounced around inside my body

like a game of Arkanoid, bounce off the paddle, rebound

to the other cell wall. Red spikes like a Rambutan, o

that soft white center like sinking one’s teeth into an eyeball.

You weren’t laughing, hated my book, my squirming cells,

the virus a stone in my throat, a cherry lozenge swallowed

and caught on the uvula, swinging like a punching bag in those old

loony tunes. Covid tap dancing around just under my skin

like a bug under a rug, as you railed and wept, ending our marriage.

Meanwhile, Covid peeked out from behind my red-rimmed eyes

and snickered. Meanwhile, Covid rolled its round hairy body as if

my body was a ball pit, lunging from edge to edge with the glee

of a kid at Chucky Cheese.  



Meghan Sterling lives in Portland, Maine with her family. Her work has been published in Rattle, Cider Press Review, Inflectionist Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Driftwood Press, Sky Island Journal, Literary Mama and others. She is Associate Poetry Editor of the Maine Review, a Dibner Fellow at the 2020 Black Fly Writer’s Retreat, and a Hewnoaks Artist Colony Resident in 2019 and 2021. Her collection These Few Seeds is forthcoming from Terrapin Books in April, 2021. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

Present Tense

by Sheila DC Robertson


The last withered chapter
of winter leaves
release and realign
molecules and atoms

Life squares the higher math
of decay and cell division
multiplies, divides, unfurls
lily and lacewing

Sunstrikes limn cumulus clouds
silhouette chevrons of returning geese
Lightstreams furrow fields and suffuse storm swells
Photons bend to prisms of lime-green in willows

Heat-stoked afternoons ignite daily business:
The cottontail’s thump
Ear-flick of a doe
Explosion of quail

Cicada’s crawl from grave-
dark earth to sing out the news
in concert with time’s invisible score
Falcons gyre

bank on currents they cannot see
Trust in a perfection of answers
that lie in latitudes and longitudes
of spiders’ webs.

Tectonic plates slide and shift
Earthquakes and volcanoes 
renew earth’s 
assumed immortality

Asteroids and viruses alter trajectories
oblivious to man’s craving
for mortality in the wild chaos
of the fleeting present



In the barren landscapes that define southwestern Idaho, Sheila Robertson seeks beauty and stories off the beaten path.  With pen and camera she is happiest in the deep winding canyons of the Owyhee or camped out under the stars in its remotest weathered desert. Sheila came to Boise nearly forty years ago and has published articles, stories and poetry that reflect Idaho’s landscape in Crab Creek Review, North Coast Squid, Writers in the Attic, Trouvaille Review, New Feathers Review, Global Poemic and “little white dress.” Her non-fiction has appeared in Travel & Leisure Magazine, Idaho Magazine and others. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

In-Between

by Kelly Severseike


It’s one of those days where time moves slowly.
I feel sluggish and overwhelmed with ideas.
There are things I want to say but the words stay away.
Encapsulating anything on paper is a struggle.
Distractions aren’t working like they used to.
They lost their power once I became self-aware.
My old habits have shed themselves of me,
I’m still looking for something new to replace them.
This is the in-between times where I feel
Like I’m accomplishing nothing
When really the opposite is true.
This is the process of becoming who I am.



Kelly Severseike is a writer and poet based in Colorado. She loves reading and meditation. She is currently working on a novel. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

Sestina for Covid-19

by Mary Ellen Talley


this feckin’ hand washing is getting tedious
I am married to a man, a hand towel and a bar of soap
I finally caught the eye of my elderly neighbor 
across the street when I waved wildly from my front door
the place where sometimes the mail carriers venture
in their gallant rounds bringing the now blessed whatevers

I am, you are wildly missing all of yesterday’s whatevers –
grocery trips to pick up a cube of butter so tedious
we would’ve never considered a risky adventure
yet we do as we spend twenty seconds with suds of each soapy
washing our hands when we turn back to open the door
and can only phone or email to check on any of our neighbors

we sure as hell don’t wish unwell on any neighbor
as scheduled surgeries are cancelled and seem like whatever
was called elective now is unnecessary so we close the door
and try not to bother health care professionals with our tedious
questions what and how much of this washing with soap
on a rope, on a noose, don’t bother the docs or venture

out of your dwelling don’t ride your bike to desperately venture
on a lone ride, even if it is allowed to wave at your neighbor
you have a history of falling, all the hand washing soap
won’t maintain your balance, so you remain focused on whatever
the glamourous internet ads the businesses keep posting the tedious
wishes you have simply to go out, appreciate in person, open your door

to dress up, make a spectacularly ordinary exit out your door
onto the bus, subway, light rail, your car, such an adventure
it used to be on your calendar, your book club, the tedious
reading if the book wasn’t glorious, you’d invite your neighbor
next time for you know he/she/they/we are awaiting whatever
in spite of this feckin’ focus on singing Happy Birthday to soap

we are stuck at home substituting our favorite songs to this soap
who’d have believed we’d ever be this desperate for contact at the door
I just waved thank you to the trash man and he waved whatever
greeting he knew finally he was appreciated in his venture
outside to pick up the debris of our STAY HOME neighbor
who peeks out her window she’s old and she relishes the tedious

hand washing with soap the dangerous ventures and ordering take out
she seldom opens her door our neighbor who’s ninety and watching
the news she learned long ago to appreciate whatever was tedious



Mary Ellen Talley’s poems have recently been published in Banshee, Beir Bua, The Plague Papers and Ekphrastic Review as well as in the anthologies, Chrysanthemum and Raven Chronicles’ Take a Stand: Art Against Hate. Her poems have received two Pushcart nominations and her chapbook, “Postcards from the Lilac City” was published by Finishing Line Press in 2020. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

This Wild Ride

by Jessica Gregg


The first time we took my nephew on the subway
I snapped a photo, of course, quietly without intrusion
but a small bit of guilt for being so typical
of this time, of this age, of our obsession with capturing
as real what is most definitely a silk butterfly collection.
But now I know I should have brought confetti,
noisemakers, a small chocolate cake, party bags,
favors, hired a sky writer, a dream reader, and gem spitter.
Where was my boom box with its perfectly curated playlist?
I could have fit the family crystal in my backpack.
Don’t be dramatic, people will tell you,
but in the very same breath: Live in the moment.
This was a moment and I just wonder what more
we could have done to time-stamp wrestle
this into something that muscle-pressed memory
and tattooed on my own arm how lucky we were.



Jessica Gregg‘s poems have appeared in Broadkill Review, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Yellow Arrow Review, and San Fedele Press’s Art in the Time of COVID-19. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

Two Poems

by Maxine Chernoff


from Zonal

But who is speaking now, and how to Zoom the edges of the text?
Can meaning take its storied place on suddenly vacant shores?

The middle goes missing from the plot of how we train our minds to follow
all but tragedy, mortality pressed behind the ropes of well-earned fears.
While we try light and bleach and llama’s blood to seek a cure,

history shifts its weight. We pass markers for the losses we endure,
whole Viet Nams of endings, cities falling ill, as fruit begins to form
in winter’s face, and seasons pass in reference to our moons.
April 15 lilacs bloom, the flower moon is pink and low in what

we call a firmament of words and signs. We choose to read and “voice”
our fears though legibility encounters bewilderment, makes
sense of time outside of time, experience upended, the week coyotes
take LA, flamingos claim Mumbai, and monkey loot Nepali shrines:
how the millions missing from the tale agree to disappear.


10.

You carry with you like a shell, the heaviness
of words surrounding what we’ve come to call

“environment.” A student years ago had written
of an “ecology walk,” his story set in the ’50s,
anachronistic term in finite time. I told him

how we had thrown our bottles in the pond, lit matches
in dry fields, ignored translucent moths the texture
of our skin peeling in summer delirium of sun.
And now in surfeit we have loss: planet shifting

on its axis to shoulder all the waste: redundant
fracking zone/birdless vector of regret:/ what are you
in this late day? / What sound issues from the glass
place you call mirror or self in a world of shattering, /call
it Zone, or Area N: /how we make songs to suture space.



Maxine Chernoff is a professor, a recipient of an NEA and a PEN Translation Prize, and the author of 17 collections of poetry. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.





Street Wash (2020)

by Kathy Jacobs


In my neighborhood
last November
a large doe lay
on a driveway
Glass-eyed and gutted
carcass gaping and empty
Entrails draped over
a sagging brown box,
pelted by buzzing flies
Her blood intermingled 
with lawn sprinkler runoff
Who was this hunter
to decide 
the local kids needed
a reality check 
about death?

In Chicago this summer
lives dripped into streets
from bullet holes
Poured over feet
of children
Who later played
where gutters
ran pink
After the hydrants
were opened

In my town this December
loss is in isolation
Outside the nursing home
relatives peer through rain-
spattered glass
Hoping the loved ones inside
understand 
Caregivers’ faces are hidden,
anonymous
Weariness etched 
in their eyes
Muffled wheezes echo
in hospital hallways
Cloistered lungs ache
with ground glass 
The statistics are sterile
Detached and monstrous
Devoid jarring stench 
Absent violence and viscera
An undeclared war
with washed casualties

Yet in this year of dying
I find myself returning
To Chicago streets
and deer



Kathy Jacobs is a retired professor of nursing. She has been poems published in anthologies from the Nebraska Writers Guild and Plainsongs. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.