Sunday Service

by Duane Anderson


Sunday morning,
I do not drive to church
to attend one of its services,
for the lights are off,
the doors are locked.
There will be no live services,
no one to greet you,
no one to worship with.
Instead, I head downstairs,
turn on the computer and click
on the link for the service
the pastor recorded a few days earlier,
an abbreviated service,
no sharing of the peace,
no offering,
no communion.
I wave a palm,
but it is only my hand that I wave.
Nothing is the same
except for the coronavirus that is still with us.
I say a prayer for it to disappear,
then must wait to see if my prayers are answered.



Duane Anderson currently lives in La Vista, NE, and volunteers with a non-profit organization as a Donor Ambassador on their blood drives.  He has had poems published in The Pangolin Review, Fine Lines, The Sea Letter, Cholla Needles, Tipton Poetry Journal, Poesis Literary Journal and several other publications.  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.  

Perfection

by Benjamin Schmitt


I want to be the perfect patient,
resolving disputes between doctors and nurses
by opening myself up so they can stuff
all their metal instruments
into me, creating a robotic rat

to fight Covid-19. I want
to be the perfect father and give in
to these terrorist demands
for CANDY and TOYS and NO SLEEP
so the kids can use our home
as a military compound from which to launch
The Child Insurgency. I want to be
the perfect fan; get the same
haircut, read the same books,
admire the same paintings as my idol

so I can walk into a café
and wipe her fame off the back of my hand.
I want to be the perfect Christian.
Driving the fancy cars
that Jesus would have driven,
I’ll hang out with all the billionaires
whom Judas would have wanted to know,

praising with hands raised to mansions
in the sky. I want to be the perfect
American; to see in every reality TV star
the qualities of a great president,
to give all I’ve got to a shitty job
but to only ever look out for myself. 



Benjamin Schmitt is the author of three books, most recently Soundtrack to a Fleeting Masculinity. His poems have appeared in the Antioch ReviewHobart, Worcester Review, Columbia Review, Roanoke Review, and elsewhere. A co-founder of Pacifica Writers’ Workshop, he has also written articles for The Seattle Times and At The Inkwell. He lives in Seattle with his wife and children. 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 Dog

by Shalini Samuel


Leo, the dog with butterfly ears
Painted black all over his body, his face looks brown
Weird are his behaviour, wise are his action
I find his nose in every corner of my domicile.

He roams around, exploring the new shrubs
He counts the frogs and the garden lizards
Drinks the milk, eats the meat with a little rice
Licks away the fish oil and rests on my lap.

Leo, snores when the sun is above my head
Tears to pieces all the fancy bedsheets
Guards his bowl and bed, but forgets me
Social distancing, he is yet to learn.

Bathing session a horrendous turmoil
He hears the evening news and reads the newspaper
Yet he is an ignorant, foolish dog
Not knowing of Corona, he growls at a health worker.

His life is the most beautiful, with nothing to worry,
Happily he dreams, coiled on his small bed.



Shalini Samuel is a bilingual poet from Cape Comorin, India. She pens poems in English and Tamil. Her poems are often seen in online and print anthologies and magazines. She is the author of three poetry collections: Singing Soul, The Painted Life, Drizzle.  She is fond of writing, reading, cooking, and gardening. She is a lover of nature, philosophy, and spirituality. 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 works include 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 women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colour can’t.