by Yash Seyedbagheri

we can have HBO
an order of shrimp fried rice
pad thai or Ramen noodles
even a cocktail or two

we have our beds and baths
to send emails
and waltz without complaint to Tchaikovsky
and we have our own spaces and grease-stained sweatpants
the scents of onions and armpits
sanitizer, floor wax, pine-scented polish

and empty space
we have it all
when we order a smile
with a side of comfort and platitudes
and a dessert of promise
the line’s always busy

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His stories, “Soon,” “How To Be A Good Episcopalian,” and “Tales From A Communion Line,” were nominated for Pushcarts. Yash’s work has been published in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Write City Magazine, and Ariel Chart, among 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.

Things The Virus Took

by Yash Seyedbagheri

The virus took the little coffee shop with yellow walls. People gathered at large oak tables, whispered secrets about finals and Friday parties. I inhaled laughter, carried it in secret. It took the bar that reminded me of a Hopper painting, jukebox playing Eagles and Lady Gaga. Here I talked Russian literature and Hoagy Carmichael, strangers speaking in gravelly and baritone comforts. But the virus left me Netflix, Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth talking monarchical privilege, Sam Elliott dropping F-bombs on The Ranch. I played their voices until the Internet stalled. Now I speak to sterile walls, words bouncing back.

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.