Like a Desert Owl

by Justin Goodman


There is nowhere to perch free
from pricks, and I am no cactus.

I eat sand and sleep sand. I am
sand, those rocks of starting.

The world is a single hourglass
tilting, tilting, tilting, tilting,

but I am no cactus. I latch on
only. When I land it will be

at last. I yaw with the hourglass
until then, and imagine it’s

what perching feels like.



Justin Goodman is an Ace writer based in New Haven, Connecticut. His work is published, among other places, in Cleaver Magazine, TwoCities Review, and Prairie Schooner. He also talks about poetry on Youtube as Moonlight<Moonlight. Varada J.M. is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one. 

Remembering

by K. Ann MacNeil

It’s not 
that I’ve been less than a mile 
from the cottage in weeks,
not that I can count on one hand with fingers left 
how many times I’ve been 
in a car in months.                                       


It’s not 
so much the obvious that 
scratches,
grabs,
holds 
me. 

It’s not 
our growing mask collection:
the first two cut and sewn by you from a thrifted purple pillowcase and kitchen twine;
the next two ripped and knotted by me from an old Red Sox t-shirt;
the next two thank yous from an abolitionist org;
the most recent two, silk damask, gifted from a textile artist friend at Parsons. 

It’s 
remembering not 
to wet my own finger
to turn a page
to test the cast iron pan
to twist the thread but refusing 
to remember when 
I extinguish the flame 
of 
a household devotional wick
with 
a pinch.



K. Ann MacNeil lives on an estuary in northern Manhattan and an ocean in southern Maine.  Her work has been published in The Still Blue Project: Writing with Working Class Queers in Mind; Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge, and Resilience; Closet Cases: Queers on What We Wear; and Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology from Middle America.  Salt, a mini-collection of micropoems, is forthcoming from Rinky Dink Press. Varada J.M. is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one. 

Fog in the Tunnel

by Randy Prunty


Not a list but a listening
to the birds that shout
and pop and whistle
derisively at us shut-ins

Not shut-in but shut-up,
boarded up, like a window,
like homeless camps
with tarps over tents

Not homeless but unhoused.
Unapartmented. Unhoteled.
Uncondo’d. Untrailered.
Unjailed, but just barely.

Not barely but bravely
we fight technology
and zoom away with friends,
strangers, therapists.

Not strangers but strays
minutes away from feral
needing love but settling
for food and anxiety

Not anxiety but anhedonia
that needy nemesis
keeping us hopelessly tuned-
in to the mire of daily news

But a mire is not a mirror
unless your face is swamped
like all of us
with the other’s murk

Not others but . . .
ok, others, because maybe
your doxa is not my doxa
but my skin is all ours

not skin but skin and bones
bones like letters on a page
eruptions announcing our presence
– fingers of an everted glove

there’s a finger but then a dismissal
a carved and shiny word or
anything you just almost said
can’t be kept so got rid of it

not rid but riddle – ride and ride
until you see your own eye
not from your face
but up from below

everything is from below
wrapped up like a book
out for a cold day of reading
or speaking if given a chance



Randy Prunty‘s recent work can be seen in New American Writing, the tiny, and Parentheses. His chapbook called Red Wax was published last year by the micropress Ethel. He works in Oakland as a bus driver and I’m married to poet Elizabeth Robinson. Varada J.M. is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

Old Cemetery Hidden in a Woods

by Jane Yolen


Your scoured stones, the names
barely readable, as if those below
had already risen on this Easter morning.
I touch the cold outlines, dates
of births, deaths, think of centuries
you have lain here undisturbed.
Such patience, which you may never
have had in life, is God’s gift to you,
while he sorts through hundreds, thousands
of war and virus victims only now
banging on his gates,
changing the neighborhood
with their entitlement and demands.



Jane Yolen has 389 books published, almost all by traditional publishers. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America. She writes for adults and for children. Her books include novels, graphic novels, verse novels, non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, children’s picture books, poetry for adults and young readers, cookbooks, music books, and ten books of adult poetry. She has been given 6 honorary doctorates from New England colleges and universities. One of her many awards set her good coat on fire. Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

Pre Covid-19

by Lisa Lynn Biggar


Before the storm
we found a quiet
New York: inside
St. Patrick’s lighting
candles for our grandmothers;
upon a bench in Central Park,
where we watched a stray
dog bounding for joy,
skyscrapers beyond so
majestic and still;
ensconced in
St. Thomas, where
the angelic voices of
a Boy’s Choir
held us mesmerized—
in the wonder of
the moment—
where, today,
I retreat in
silence.



Lisa Lynn Biggar received her MFA in Fiction from Vermont College and is currently completing a short story cycle set on the eastern shore of Maryland. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals including Main Street Rag, Bluestem Magazine, The Minnesota Review, Kentucky Review, The Delmarva Review and Superstition Review. She’s the fiction editor for Little Patuxent Review and co-owns and operates a cut flower farm on the eastern shore of Maryland with her husband and three cats. Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

Let Us Ride Bikes

by Sarah Gorban 


It seems most days are forgotten once had

Broken

Worn

thrown to recycle among gritty outlines

that seem the norm, for what can I do

except ride a bike through Suburbia

gripping handlebars with white knuckles

holding onto the sun within a palm

moon placed on the tongue, to touch

and feel the constants that comfort

among hazy blurry outlines, shaded

beyond the outlines, to call our days



Sarah Gorban is a recent college graduate with a focus in Neuroscience and is pursuing a pharmacy education in North Carolina. Her work has been previously published through Trinity University, Dissonance Magazine, and is forthcoming at Orange Blush Zine. Sarah presently resides in Pennsylvania, among the greenery and farm land. She can be found usually on adventure walks, making oatmeal bowls, and searching to experience moments more subjectively. She’s also an enthusiastic adventurer, passionate about health and wellness, and a poet in the making.  Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

No Antibodies

by Joan Dobbie


Thank God! I’m innocent, guilt free at last
Poor woman, she died, but it wasn’t my fault

Those long sleepless nights may be finally passed
Thank God! I’m innocent, guilt free at last

At least I can try and let go of that past
Start fresh with some honey, toss out the salt

Thank God! I’m innocent, guilt free at last
Poor woman, she died, but it wasn’t my fault



Joan Dobbie cohosts the River Road Reading Series (RRRS) in Eugene, Oregon, now on ZOOM. Her triolet “When your Man’s a Drunk” took first place in the traditional form category of the Spring 2020 Oregon Poetry Association contest, She has two full length books, Woodstock Baby (2013, The Unforgettables Press) and The Language of Stone (2020, Uttered Chaos Press) several chapbooks, many online and print publications and a new manuscript Pandemic Soap out in the world, searching for the right publisher. Varada J.M. is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

Two Poems

by Vivian Wagner

First Quarantine

It’s not something
you can train for,
not something to expect.
Rather, it’s a cold morning,
a cup of coffee, a weird
wobble in the air stream
leading to a polar vortex.
Nothing is as it seems.
The future will intervene.

Forward Motion

Morning’s here,
with rain falling,
still and ever.
Son’s leaving for
a job interview.
Daughter’s sleeping.
Cat’s keeping watch.
This is how the day starts,
and how, finally,
it begins to end.



Vivian Wagner lives in New Concord, Ohio, where she’s an associate professor of English at Muskingum University. Her work has appeared in Slice Magazine, Muse/A Journal, Forage Poetry Journal, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Gone Lawn, The Atlantic, Narratively, The Ilanot Review, Silk Road Review, Zone 3Bending Genres, and other publications. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel-Kensington); a poetry collection, Raising (Clare Songbirds Publishing House); and the chapbooks The Village (Aldrich Press-Kelsay Books), Making (Origami Poems Project), Curiosities (Unsolicited Press), and Spells of the Apocalypse (forthcoming, Thirty West Publishing House). Varada J.M. is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

Mother’s Touch

by Moinak Dutta


Mother’s touch always had that magic of a doctor
Sans that ugly smell of medicines,
Remember once, just before Durgapujo,
Had fever,
Maha shashti it was the day,
The day which always began the festivities,
Ma sat beside my cot,
Putting wet towel over my forehead,
Her bangles made curious sounds every time she touched my head;

With end of her saree she would wipe my face, reddened lobes of ears,
And her voice would ring like nursery rhymes,
In my half drowsy state would I hear her singing songs for me,
That way how Mahashashti slipped away to Dashami didn’t notice
Then one fine morning, woke up without temperature, with Ma just beside
my cot, holding a box of crayons.



Moinak Dutta is a published poet and fiction writer with two literary and romance fictions to his credit, namely Online@offline and In Search of La Radice. His third fiction will be out soon. Many poems and short stories by him have found their ways in journals, magazines, dailies, webzines, and publishing portals. He works as a teacher and loves to travel and do photography. He lives in Kolkata with wife, son and pet dog. Varada J.M. is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.

Weed-Bracelets

by Holly Threm Goslin


As kids
we plucked white clover
weaving stems into bracelets and crowns.
They were flowers, not weeds: regalia befitting
the Childlike Empress in her layers of pearlescent white.
Chiggers pierced bare skin (unnoticed at the time) as we sat
cross-legged in soft, dense patches of possible four-leaf clovers.

Don’t stay cooped up. Take a walk outside. Commune with nature.
Make a bracelet of inverted duct tape (sticky side exposed).
Explore your yard for fallen leaves, petals, feathers and
add them to the tape. Leave wildflowers for bees.
Don’t wallow in isolation-imposed grief;
Instead, be productive while you
stay home.



Holly Threm Goslin is a faculty member, writer, and animal rescue advocate. Recent work has appeared in The DewdropHoneyBookRuminate Magazine, and Cave Region Review. She lives in the southern U.S. with her husband and dogs. Varada J.M. is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.