The Time Back Home

by Lorelei Bacht 

The time back home started flowing 
At a much different pace from ours – 
A shift almost imperceptible at first, 
Then a chasm, undeniable. Across 
The distance of a continent, we can still 
Hear their distant voices, on and off, 
Online – It is not quite the same: we seem 
to have parted ways, only capable
Of conversing when the planets align, 
Once every century. 

The time back home has gone sour, 
Thick and slow like an underwater dream.
Muffled panic in the distance, nothing 
They write makes any sense. They talk 
Of bubbles, complicated lines 
Between, around old people and places
We once thought connected. There is 
No such thing as stopping on the way home 
Just to say hi. 

The time back home has accelerated, 
Perhaps, and we have become a relic 
Of a distant and glorious past – that is 
How they must feel reading about our lives, 
Which are quotidian and eerily 
Unaffected – what they would give, 
For a chance to complain about 
Our minor inconveniences: sometimes,
We have to wait a few hours
To buy some beer. 

The time back home is incalculable, 
Unlike The time difference of the old days. 
How simple then, to add or retract a handful 
Of hours. Now the difference is measured 
In days, birthdays missed, weeks, 
Of impossible quarantines, months 
And years without seeing loved ones. And the certainty
that without a hug, a gentle 
Touch, the irreplaceable presence of one to one, 
We have begun the slow but irremediable process 
Of turning into ghosts.

Lorelei Bacht is a European poet living in Asia with her family, which includes two young children and a lot of chaos. Her work focuses on aging, motherhood, and finding onself as a nearly middle-aged woman. Some of her musings and previous publications can be found on her Instagram feed. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.

No Solicitors

by Blake V Rose


For all you know I am a
Pink flamingo staked before
A double-wide in Kentucky

I am a no soliciting sign
Fastened to the front wall
Of a Sinclair in Wyoming

A glass of untouched prosecco
Somewhere moldering
In an Italian basement

For all you know I’m positive

With every cough
This shit is getting real

For all you know I am
The woman with an airbrushed
Shirt tied in knots
At the seams
Two feet behind you in the line
At your local Aldi’s

For all you know I’m positive
That you are too

With every public sneeze
This shit is getting real



Blake V Rose is currently in pursuit of an English degree at East Carolina University and will one day move home to Tennessee. He is proud to have fiction published in Alban Lakes Publishing, Hireath Books, and Adelaide Literary Magazine. Blake has poetry published in the anthology Under the Cherry Tree: 20 Great Poets in Their 20’s. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.

Times Square

by Rachel Mallalieu


TImes Square is crazy today.
The sky is like glass, 
but only a few people stumble through the
frames on the the live cam.
A masked woman pushes her stroller
and weaves a wide berth around strangers.
No Iron Men pose for pictures;
no street performers razz bystanders
and gather cash.
We were there last February
and played the part of tourists.
We measured our hands
against Shaq’s print and posed
with Justin Bieber at Madame Tussaud’s.
We pulled lever after lever of M&Ms—
mixing mint and peanut butter candies in our bags.
Devoured them on the street while we
elbowed our way through through crowds.
At dinnertime, we squeezed into the
back corner of a Ramen house—
six huddled around a table for four.

Nothing felt final.

I can’t stop thinking about the orca who carried
her dead calf for over 1000 miles.
As ribbons of the baby’s flesh peeled away,
the whale continued to push her toward the life
she was supposed to have.

A few nights ago, my dead grandfather
visited me in a dream. He told me I could
hug him one more time. He patted my back
and murmured It’s dandy while I clutched him.
He left me and I woke up
with tears soaking my hair.

I never learned how to say good bye.
I’m still dragging the remains of
the way things used to be.
They felt light in March when we measured
time in two week intervals.
I hardly noticed them when
hummingbirds courted the lilies in July.

Now summer’s birdsong is displaced by the
whine of crickets and days compress.
My youngest son calls from school and sobs.
He forgot his cloth mask,
and the school’s paper one
scratches his face.
His teacher worries he
is not coping well.

Not long ago, the orca birthed
another calf and scientists feared
she looked malnourished.
But just last week, she was
seen swimming vigorously
alongside her mother.



Rachel Mallalieu is an emergency medicine physician and mother of five. She writes poetry in her spare time. Her work has been featured in Blood and Thunder, Haunted Waters Press, Pulse, Ricochet Journal, Love’s Executive Order, Nelle and Rattle. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.

Pandemic Funeral

by Jacqueline Jules


Watching on Zoom,
I expected the somber clothes,
the tearful speeches, the widow
sitting by her children, faces hidden
behind surgical masks.

Watching it through a screen, it felt
like a grainy movie from the 1920s.
Until they lowered the casket
and lifted the shovels.

The sound of soil scooped and dropped
went on for almost an hour.

Silent mourners patiently taking turns
until the coffin disappeared
beneath a final blanket.

Are the rabbis right?
Does the departed feel loved,
tenderly tucked in by family?

From my little box, time zones away,
I watch the bearded face of the brother,
listening, like me, from his own little box,
to the echo of earth on a casket,
his eyes longing to lift a shovel
and offer his own, loving goodbye.



Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, including Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications, including Gyroscope, The Paterson Literary Review, Cider Press Review Potomac Review, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.

Thirty-Two Days Into Quarantine

by Lauren WB Vermette


I scream, an ambulance siren
on silent, red lights flashing,
not pausing to brake.

My vocal cords constrict,
raggedly gripping onto
a scream so quiet

the only noise you hear
is a soft keening
that doesn’t break for air.

I curl into the opposite couch
with my back to you
as I scream into my fist,

dampen the sound
with my palm
so it won’t break the air,

won’t make you worry,
won’t pause the video game
you are playing while I scream
to keep myself from breaking.



Lauren WB Vermette is an ink-slinger who makes her home in Dover, NH. Her work has appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Edge, Good Fat Zine, Hole in the Head Review, Lunation: An Anthology of Women Poets, and Rat’s Ass Review Journal. Her first collection of poetry, And The Form Falls Away (2018), was published by Senile Monk Press. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.

The Tiny Window

by Kurt Newton


When the pandemic struck,
we told the children they couldn’t
sit with Grandma anymore.
There was something in the air
so small we couldn’t see it,
but if she breathed it in
it could make her very sick.

The children seemed to understand
Grandma’s room was now off limits,
but still they missed her crinkly voice
and her sweet powdery smell.
So we cut a hole in the wall
and put in a tiny window,
sealed, of course.
It was the best we could do.

The children would peek in on Grandma,
they’d wave and Grandma would wave back,
bound to her big, soft bed,
always in her flower print night gown.
Most times Grandma was asleep,
even during the day.
And when the unseen finally did
find its way into her lungs,
we didn’t know how to tell the children,
so much had been taken already.

So we took a picture of Grandma
from the tiny window, and taped it
to the other side of hole in the wall.
The children complained that Grandma
was always sleeping when they came to visit,
but she looked happy, peaceful,
so that was okay.



Kurt Newton works as a health physics technician. He grew up in a small town in rural Connecticut. As a proud father of an energetic six-year-old, Kurt is grateful that his son can visit his Grandpa at least once a week. Kurt’s poetry has appeared in Hobo Camp Review, The Wild Word, Penumbric, and Oddball Magazine. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.

Trial

by Wribhu Chattopadhyay   


These days leave the bed and open
the gate of a sanitized sunup.
Is it a rattling or throbbing behind a mask?
Here is an island and only sweat drizzles
alone without any  frivolity.
What is blank page and meaning?
A self laced cocoon or a force split
of an abnormal life is wrapped
in an enshrouding moment.
But a full stop alone can’t wreck the life.
It aspires like a phoenix
and a trial is on the process.



Wribhu Chattopadhyay is a poet, essayist, and short story writer. He writes both in Bengali and English. He lives in Durgapur, WB. His poems and short stories have been published in eminent magazines like Desh, Tathyakendra, Anandabazar Patrika, Amulet, Conceit, Poetry Protocol, Brown Critique, etc. His poems have been included in The UK Poetry Library’s Top Writers of 2012, Significant Anthology, Inklinks. Hibiscus, Tech touch talk (online). At present he works as a teacher. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.

Love in the time of Corona

by Kashif Ilyas


We fell in love
When the world
Stumbled for a moment
And came to a halt
Uncertain

The streets froze
People turned scant
And we faced each other
In the resultant
Empty spaces

We fell in love
As the world stumbled
Came to a halt
And you collapsed
Into my arms.



Kashif Ilyas is a research scholar in the Department of English, Aligarh Muslim University. His poems have previously appeared in The Poet, With Painted Words and the anthology Lockdown 2020 Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t. 

The Siege is with Us

By Olatubosun David


Streets stand empty and sour
Like the ancient Jerusalem in the time of desolation
No man, nor animal in view
Except for the sounds of wandering birds
And siren of police jeep that whizzed past
At a distance

We are shut out and in
Against an evil wind ravaging the world
Our eyes are opened and alert daily
In front of our TV and news papers
Our ears are opened impatiently
To radio, channel to channel
For the news of remedy
But no new news broadcast except boring news,
Scary news, old news

“For now, no sufficient ventilators
No therapy, no remedy
Except to associate in aloofness
With your family and friends”

“COVID-19:  a Minister just tests positive
A Governor also in isolation
Some men just passed away
New cases confirmed everyday
Sister Kate’s wedding date postponed
Religious and social activities suspended
Street shops markets shut
Banks’ doors and schools closed up
Curfew in the land is declared
Till further notice!”

Alas! We are in for serious malady
The siege now is with us!
Our doors are shut
But never against hunger
Never against inflation
And action of the opportunists
Crushing us like the weight of heavy rock

Oh COVID-19!
May your shining light quickly go down
Like the sun sinks in an eclipse
May your hope crash speedily
Like the egg trampled under foot
May your days be short and disappear
Like smoke vanishes to the thin air

We are, in the meantime, the Samaria of old
in the time of dearth
But siege upon us for better is laid
Should every inconvenience be endured
And all precautions obeyed
The glorious days ahead of us is coming
And we shall bask again in glory.



Olatubosun David is a Nigeria writer and poet. A graduate of Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo, Ondo State (2013), currently works in Achievers University, Owo. Ondo State, Nigeria. He is on Twitter @davidolatubosun.  Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.   

Better Tomorrow, Today

by Maid Čorbić 


When all the chaos rained in, 
cleaving clocks, exposing humans
who know no better to 
brace for invisible forces, I
was told it’s a pandemic
And then everybody holds
Their loved ones close.                       

Life is a gem you hold tight as you
Get to that corner, but every day 
Thank God you turn back, for
Your future’s not arrived yet and
Now learning requires no luck

Doctors fight and fight along  
on the dangerous lines, as
we’re taught to hew to rules
and be the best in worst times  

The virus kills the old, and
Spares no young either, whose
future has not arrived yet;
Tears drip down young face
Like a legacy, unstoppable
like the rain from a black sky

For better tomorrow,
Be united and decide our
destiny, and still pray, for
the entire planet is besieged.


Danas Bolje Sutra

Sav haos na svijetu dogodio se u samo djeliću milisekunde
Čovjek više ne zna šta da radi, pa se bori za nevidljive sile
Želeći samo najbolje za sebe i svoje najmilije, da ni na koji način ne pate
U ovim teškim vremenima dok smo u svijetu izloženi virusu
I rekli su mi da se zove PANDEMIJA

Život je sada postao mnogo dragocjeniji i poštovaniji
Kad dođeš do samog ugla, zahvalite Bogu svaki dan
Što ste živi i da se možete radovati mnogim stvarima u budućnosti
Jer za tako malo sreće potrebna je dobra motivacija i obrazovanje

Oni ljekari koji se svim snagama bore da nas spasu koliko mogu
Oni su najizloženiji opasnosti, pravila su jasno izrečena svima
I toga se moramo pridržavati zbog svog zdravlja i zdravlja drugih ljudi oko sebe
Jer smo tome učeni, a i najbolji prijatelji u teškim vremenima

Mnogi ljudi također umiru od ovog virusa, posebno stari, ali i mladi
Koji predstavljaju našu budućnost svijeta i ponosni smo na njih
Bolne rane i suze koje mu kapaju niz lice ostaju u naslijeđu
Nezaustavljivo poput kiše na crnom nebu

Za danas bolje sutra, budimo ujedinjeni i ujedinjeni širom Zemlje
Stvorimo dobra poznanstva i sve shvatimo ozbiljno
Jer naša jedina sudbina je u našim rukama, dok još molimo
Da spasimo čitavu planetu koja je sada pod opsadom od virusa.



Maid Čorbić comes from Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is a 20-year-old graphic and web designer who has been writing poetry for ten years. He also plays keyboard and loves to sing. He loves most when people around him are happy, and when charity rules the Earth. His poem appears in his native Bosnian language and in English with translation by VK Sreelesh. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.