#FlattenTheCurve: Five Poems by Richard Widerkehr


Now The Lion Sun

For a while, I’ve wanted to say the word disquiet.

As we self-quarantine, and the pharmacy techs,
the grocery checkers go to work,
we sip coffee from our royal-blue cups.

Fir branches in shadow at the edge
of our field make a human figure, arms upraised.
Yesterday, I saw this photo of a lion.

In that zoo with no bars, it lifted its head,
as if toward harsh savannas, sun-struck grass.

Since she saw clients exposed to the virus,
Linda has stayed home—no signs of fever,
no weakening armies of breath.

Now the lion sun
on the edges of dark, naked alders—
the moss on our goat shed glows.


Another Shooter*

When the pale sky lets in a chink of light over the rim
of the foothills, we can’t help glancing at the sun.
Last night’s news tasted like salt. Still half-asleep,
we wait, as if for a brand-new diaspora,

a city with bread and honey. As the coffee maker
brews our coffee, and the sun gets round,
more golden, we touch each other, almost afraid.
Sun like a wind, scattered from the edge

of a nebula. After two cups of coffee,
I read how police traced our latest murderer
to the Red Roof Inn near Round Rock, Texas.

How strange, to stand as witnesses this morning.
Our phone rings, numbers flash on a screen. Not in use,
says the display. The sun, this blinding gift.


Aubade: Standing Under The Eleventh Street Bridge

This bright, pale new grass in the sun.
Gray stanchions almost like pilings
at the bottom of the sea. Last night
you told me, If I die before you do,
scatter my ashes in the woods
beside some trillium. You showed
me three white petals pressed
in your book. Now as cars
cross by, the bridge gathers its weight
and starts to break in waves, as one
by one the large boards rise
and shudder.
What’s the matter?
you ask. Like this face in a rearview
mirror, like a song I cannot hear,
these words silos at dawn
within me. Under this echoing
bridge, these gray stanchions.
This faint haze of green in the air—
yes, our disquiet this April;
almost nothing happens; we wait.
When did I hear silos at dawn?
And no, this is not a prayer.


Staring West Out A Rear Window Of The Keystone Ferry*

–In memory of the men and women murdered at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

As we pull away from creosoted pilings,
there’s this cleft in the dark part of twilight,
a wash of pale blue in the west.

I scan well-lit faces in this cabin,
picture Linda safe at home. As we start
to cross the channel,

the ferry veers; I brace both hands
against the hull. No stars, no dock.
Just the glossy charcoal of this water.


After Sun-Up Near The Y Road

I’m thinking of this movie from almost fifty years ago.
A woman asked, Do you hear the bells? Someone
replied, Are you sure? As if that were an answer.
Out our living-room window now, low fir branches

almost block the light. There’s the dusty cylinder
of Linda’s bird feeder, this black metal bar bent down—
a gray squirrel hangs from its hind feet. Last night,
at our online seder, the cantor led this prayer,

Eli, Eli, Lord, Lord. Her windowsills, white walls,
high windows. Her small son slipped in and out
of the room. I’ve never seen angels up and down

a ladder, never saw Elijah. On my laptop,
her white walls. How come no shadows?
Now this gray glass cylinder sways in the sun.

I remember nothing else about the movie.



*The poem, Another Shooter, was previously published on Poetry Super Highway.  Staring West Out a Rear Window of the Keystone Ferry was previously published in Blueline.



Richard Widerkehr’s work has appeared in Rattle, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, Arts & Letters, Atlanta Review, and others. He earned his M.A. from Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan. His latest book of poems is In The Presence Of Absence (MoonPath Press). He reads poems for Shark Reef Review.

#FlattenTheCurve: Social Distancing by Tricia Knoll


You must be friends with silence to hear.
~ Joy Harjo, “Singing Everything”

The demands: stand off, stay away,
no closer, do not touch

while our simian hands reach,
grab, ache to hold. Although born

opposable, into separate-ness
we join an audience, a tribe, or my party

of one in my quiet house. Even the spring
sun smears an aura of gray haze. My stockpile

of caution weighs down with beans and soap.
Wipes for a door knob. The steering wheel.

This, they say, keeps me safe. Solitary
confinement: a reward of being old

and vulnerable. Four walls to climb
with spare windows to the woods.

A walk on old ice to the mailbox offers
a song of the first mourning dove of March.

My tai chi-waving hands-like-clouds
stir a communal hum in this silence,

forlorn whisper of boots on gravel.



Tricia Knoll’s Poetry collections –

  • How I Learned to Be White (available on Amazon) received the 2018 Indie Book Award for Motivational Poetry.
  •  Broadfork Farm – poems about a small organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington, its people and creatures is available on Amazon and from The Poetry Box.
  • Ocean’s Laughter, a book of lyric and eco-poetry about Manzanita, Oregon. Look at  Amazon.com or for Reviews. 
  • Urban Wild, a poetry chapbook available from Finishing Line Press that explores interactions of humans and wildlife in urban habitat.
Website: triciaknoll.com
twitter:@ triciaknollwind

#FlattenTheCurve: COVID 19 Shelter in Place by Connie Post


Don’t get me wrong
The corona virus is
making its way through the world
with its own fury

at night I lay awake
and shudder about
all the suffering
my daughter keeps coughing
and I don’t settle into sleep until dawn

but there is something else happening
behind the scenes
a friend you haven’t heard from in a while
reaches out and asks if you are okay

people smile at the grocery store
while not touching
Baseball games and concerts are cancelled
but the poets still write

I watch the same movie four times
with my grandson

we stay in more
remember a long-ago vacation
and make popcorn with real butter

we enjoy every morsel of pancakes
and a sandwich with the crust cut off

The virus
how long will it stay with us
how long will we remain
both distant
and isolated
while the earth
shows us the way



Connie Post served as Poet Laureate of Livermore, California (2005 to 2009). Her work has appeared in Calyx, One, River Styx, Slipstream, Spoon River Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Slippery Elm, The Pedestal Magazine, and Verse Daily. Her Awards include the 2018 Liakoura Award the 2016 Crab Creek Review Poetry Award and the Caesura award. Her first full length Book, Floodwater,  won the Lyrebird Award. Her second full length book, Prime Meridian,  was released January 3, 2020; both published by Glass Lyre Press.

#FlattenTheCurve: Chi by George Cassidy Payne


It felt like cupping a shapeless
bubble, fragile as a Robin’s egg
but without a center. Weightless and
resting in nothingness.

My neighbor probably thought I was crazy.
I didn’t care. I had been searching so long.

I should have known
it was always with me.



George Cassidy Payne is an independent writer, domestic violence social worker, adjunct professor of philosophy at Finger Lakes Community College, and a student of religion. He has degrees in the subject from St. John Fisher College, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and Emory University. He lives and works in Rochester, NY.

#FlattenTheCurve: A Novel Season by Victoria Crawford


Summer sounds unheard here—
child voices playing together-games
splashing, laughing in the river
empty streets echo hush

Harvest home and autumn leave
trick or treat masks truant
Jack Frost’s dance on windows
barricades seeking eyes

It’s not the clutch of winter
cold in throats
stifling frozen breath
captured in scarves

Spring arrives invisible
daffodils shine distant
unpicked by gloved hands
maples dress up in new green

A novel season trespasses
in the familiar yearly round
masking us
from bare-faced days



California poet Victoria Crawford lives in Thailand and has been under Stay At Home rules for almost 2 months. Like most people, she is getting lots of rest and has more time to write and cook from scratch. Her poems have appeared in places like Canary, Cargo Lit, Poetry Pacific, and Hektoen International.

#FlattenTheCurve: A Tribe of My True Affections* by David Holper


across the silence of fear and death, I hear you.
In the news cycle or the headlines or posts and tweets,
I hear your whispered worries, like the exhausted
sigh of breath of a mother or a wife
a son or daughter, asking
why him? Here in our home,
all five of us have gathered in tight,
like the pink bud before it blossoms crimson,
or before someone snaps it off, leaving
the petals cast aside and crushed.
Once a day, I try to get out: a trip
to the grocery store or the bank,
or if the rains hesitates for an afternoon,
a hike out into the redwood forest where the silences
soften me. Where I can almost breathe.
Where as I am returning, a family passes me:
the anxious mother pulling her children off
to the side of the trail, close under her wing, trying
to smile, as if to say, hello, stay back. Today
there are 18,802 dead. There is no way
to unknow that. There is no way to unknow
that in every country of the world
someone this very moment is wailing. Iranian? Spanish?
Italian? No, Death is fluent in every tongue.

* Taken from a line out of Stanley Kunitz’s poem “The Layers”



Eureka, California Poet Laureate David Holper has done a little bit of everything: taxi driver, fisherman, dishwasher, bus driver, soldier, house painter, bike mechanic, bike courier, and teacher. He has published a number of stories and poems, including two collections of poetry, The Bridge (Sequoia Song Publications) and 64 Questions (March Street Press). His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and he has recently won several poetry competitions, in spite of his contention that he never wins anything. He teaches English at College of the Redwoods and lives in Eureka, California, far enough from the madness of civilization that he can still see the stars at night and hear the Canada geese calling.

#FlattenTheCurve: Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura by Joe Cottonwood


The phone rings at dawn in California.
An ER doctor in New York informs us
Janelle has been admitted with Covid-19.
We’re next of kin. Are last wishes known?

Sprinkles fall, rain in a drought year.
Atop a fence post a turkey vulture hunkers down,
red-masked as if for virus protection.
Cathartes aura has an acute sense of smell
for ethyl mercaptan, the gas produced
in early stages of decaying meat.
Can it smell New York?

Cathartes means “purifier”
from the Greek word, same root as catharsis.
And aura is also from Greek
meaning “breeze, breath.”

A brave nurse reaches an iPad into the danger zone
so we can Zoom with Janelle
who lies enclosed in a clear plastic womb,
a Zoom to say goodbye. She’s barely alive,
low blood oxygen, a white mask over mouth
but maybe we see a wan smile. Maybe not.
We end with “Hope to see you soon”
because we mean it.

On the fence post Cathartes aura
spreads wings to dry. Branches sway softly,
a pure puff of air.


Joe Cottonwood has built or repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. His latest book is Foggy Dog. joecottonwood.com

#FlattenTheCurve: Two Flashes by Geula Geurts

MERS-CoV particles on camel epithelial cells


Lockdown was looming and this was bad for business.

Corona knew it was time to act.

Supermarkets were filling with anxious people stockpiling on toilet paper, canned beans in tomato sauce, frozen broccoli, boxed milk.

Long lines of people standing shoulder to shoulder, waiting to rush home and cook up a storm, then freeze it for the near future.

People were buying as if the world had reached its brim. Like a credit card nearing its limit, the world too would have to answer to the bank, the ultimate collection of intangible numbers.

And who maintains this bank? C thought.

In the meantime, her own numbers were increasing exponentially. From one day to the next she doubled in size, then doubled again. She divided herself like a fertilized egg, the start of all human life.

Governments were saying, stay at home, this might take a few weeks, maybe months. So, people were consuming madly, which in fact means to destroy by use, as by burning or eating.

Corona thought, that is what I do too. So, she found her way into the supermarkets.

She picked up some apples, lemons, sniffed them, then lay them down again. She leaned over the glass cheese-counter, asked for grated cheddar, then changed her mind. Dizzy, she stood amongst all the people moving through the aisles like frantic ants.

The checkout counter seemed the ants’ headquarters, the epicenter of the consuming colony. I like this species, C thought. Ants are known to have colonized every landmass on Earth. An example to follow, she thought.

She joined the busy line, and watched the chain of superorganisms carry their produce, pass it on from the one link to the next. She lightly touched the oil of the machine, joining its collective juices, the saliva that made it all run smooth. Like a gun, she clicked into place.

And when it was her turn to check out, she saw what made this species great. Some ants took one for the team, and in a final act of altruistic sacrifice, sneezed their mandibles off their heads, spraying a deathly phlegm onto the intruder. Onto Corona.

Lucky for her, she wasn’t alone anymore. The chain had been infected, and it would be impossible to trace every source. The contaminated ants would have to be isolated. And who ever heard of a quarantined ant?




And here it was, the expected lockdown.

Corona had no real recollection of her single days. She had been addicted to social interaction from the start. Foreign bodies were infatuations to her, contagious, she effortlessly switched from one crush to the next, always hungry for more, never alone, never committing.

How would she cope in isolation? Her mind began to wander.

There was one host who remained memorable. He had been more than a passing crush, she remembered. Had it been the beginning of something new? Still now she saw his dark eyes in front of her, how they pierced right through her when she’d first made him cough. He was asthmatic. She liked the sound of his deep, croaky breath. She stayed with him for eight weeks. Till his dry cough became wet, then disappeared altogether. Perhaps she remembered him because he’d survived her, even when she thought this one would truly give in.

He’d left her with a pot plant. A gift he himself had received from his colleagues while he recovered, halfway through the affair.

Now she sat alone, on her balcony, staring at the plant, a light pink cyclamen. Should she water it? Move it to a larger pot? How pathetic, she thought, she had no idea how to take care of an organism other than herself.

Google told her that each leaf of the cyclamen grows on its own stem. There are leaf stems and flower stems, and unlike other plants, these stems never intersect.

This tidbit made her sigh. She had never grown on her own stem, as a singular leaf or flower. She had always been a part of the larger Covid family, that branched out its leaves from the same stem as many tentacles. Some of her aunts said they are descendants of bats, and her cousins believed the Russians had plotted their beginning. But the uncles said their origin was the undoing of human greed.

Corona thought, I know about this greed, this desire to move from one locus to the next. In these past months she had traveled all over the globe. She had seen the temples of the East, the elaborate malls of the West, theaters, restaurants, skyscrapers and subways. She had followed in their steps; all the places humans had conquered.

How would she now cope in isolation?

She decided to move the cyclamen to a larger pot. She watched the flowers fall off, one by one, day by day, while the plant’s roots extended further in the dark soil, broadening its scope, its movement. Soon the flowers would return, she thought, blooming bigger and fuller than before.



Geula Geurts is a Dutch born poet and essayist living in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Shaindy Rudolph Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar Ilan University. Her mini-chap, Like Any Good Daughter, was published by Platypus Press. Her chapbook, Where the Sea is Quenched of Thirst, was a finalist in the 2018 Autumn House Chapbook Contest. Her work has been anthologized and has recently appeared or is forthcoming in On the Seawall, Tinderbox Editions, Blood Orange, New South, Persephone’s Daughters, Counterclock, Jellyfish Review, Rogue Agent and The Boiler, among others. She works as a literary agent at the Deborah Harris Agency.

#FlattenTheCurve: An old woman recollects by Amlanjyoti Goswami


There is no one home.
Yes I have tested.
Have you?
I have been reading, watching the leaves fall.
There used to be no phone those days.
My son is away
As if this is war.
But this is what we did to them
Penned them in.
Now we do it to each other.
We are isolated atoms reacting
Like billiard balls that strike for no reason
But to call time.
Looks like evening
When the next update will come
How many down how many still up
How many fighting
An unseen unknown enemy.



Amlanjyoti Goswami’s poetry has been published around the world, in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, the UK, USA, South Africa, Kenya and Germany, and in the anthologies, 40 under 40: An Anthology of Post Globalisation Poetry (Poetrywala), A Change of Climate (Manchester Metropolitan University, Environmental Justice Foundation and the University of Edinburgh) and the Sahitya Akademi Anthology of Modern English Poetry. His recent collection of poems, River Wedding, has just been published by Poetrywala and has been widely reviewed. His poems have also appeared on street walls of Christchurch, exhibitions in Johannesburg and buses in Philadelphia. He has read in various places, including in New York, Delhi and Boston. He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.

#FlattenTheCurve: Stay Safe by Ace Boggess


The new goodbye, aloha, bon voyage,
Godspeed—last words that may not be
last words. A hint of hope in them
like waiting for a favorite song on the radio,
also terror we might never share a next refrain.
Stay safe, I tell you. Translate: Please
don’t die or serve death on your finest china.
Stay safe, you reply. I know what you mean.
There are voices that whisper &
those that shout, but honest prayers
are the ones we keep to ourselves.



Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry—Misadventure, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming 2021.

#FlattenTheCurve: Browse by Tricia Knoll


Horses love to graze and they do it now
in dirty blankets in a muddy field where
snippets of greening grass try to survive
the appetite of those who ate dry hay
all winter. Trailing their noses, seeking
the newest green blades – if they know
that someone will arrive at five to urge
them back to stalls, they don’t care
in this noon sun because of that taste,
first lush of April, free for deliberate taking.

Feel my need: the simplest chance
to touch the spines of hard-back books
sequestered for months in our town library,
my choice to move from hard fact to glancing
at poems women wrote to survive
long weeks inside, even Dickinson, or
kids’ books where monkeys talk,
and ponies wear roller skates.
Where four gray-haired librarians
(why are they all women?) never judge
what I need (even the smut,) don’t care
how much I grab for my bag, never ask
why I pick the book on how to fill lonely
hours. That forgiving date they stamp
on the fly leaf as they mention renewal
and point to hand sanitizer on the exit door.
At home, my exquisite nibble of what is free
for choosing, the tanginess of outside.



Tricia Knoll’s Poetry collections –

  • How I Learned to Be White (available on Amazon) received the 2018 Indie Book Award for Motivational Poetry.
  •  Broadfork Farm – poems about a small organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington, its people and creatures is available on Amazon and from The Poetry Box.
  • Ocean’s Laughter, a book of lyric and eco-poetry about Manzanita, Oregon. Look at  Amazon.com or for Reviews. 
  • Urban Wild, a poetry chapbook available from Finishing Line Press that explores interactions of humans and wildlife in urban habitat.
Website: triciaknoll.com
twitter:@ triciaknollwind
Painting by Georg Reimer.

#FlattenTheCurve: March Lament by Paul Belz


Humming bird, busy
with a mating dance,
zips upwards, hovers
and dives.

His wings whistle. He perches,
repeats, and doesn’t care
that cineplexes, hair salons,
wine bars are closed.

He takes nectar
from red tube blossoms,
feels content.

Black bear wants berries, digs
for ants, doesn’t miss
basketball, or the cancelled
Kentucky Derby.

Wind goes on its way,
rain comes when it will.
Geese fly above rain clouds,
call out just before dawn.
Cling to them.



Paul Belz is an environmental educator and writer, currently based in Chico, California. He teaches natural history for preschool and elementary students, their parents, and teachers. Paul has published articles in Terrain Magazine, the East Bay Monthly, Childcare Exchange Magazine, the website Boots’n’All, and the blogs Wild Oakland and Green Adventures Travel. He’s co-editing a book on bioregional education with Judy Goldhaft of San Francisco’s Planet Drum Foundation. His poetry appears in a number of publications, including Canary, Living in the Land of the Dead (an anthology on homelessness by San Francisco’s Faithful Fools Ministry), Poetalk Quarterly, Just Like Cabbage, Only Different, The Poeming Pigeon, Blueline, the anthology What’s Nature Got to Do With Me? and others. His other joys include hiking and camping, world travel, vegetarian cooking, and long walks around San Francisco and his hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

#FlattenTheCurve: Dancing in Ohio by Nicole Michaels

I have come to vote
but the polls are closing.

People crowd
the doors,

fan out,

six feet and short bursts
of contact

remembered like something rehearsed,
a quadrille we join wearing

hoop skirts,
or ascot ties,

our steps
measured and well-controlled,

our ways of moving
more deliberate and refined.

We undo arches we would have made with our fingers.

Our feet tap stone floors.
Musicians rest their bows,

and a harpsichord
shuts on itself.

I feel a memory of bone
at my waist,

and believe I once sang
in a parlor,

a smoke from a gas lit porch,

gave away
a garter

as a keepsake of my infatuation
in the midst of a plague.

A war.

We mirror each other to our rides,
taking lines, arms at our sides,

a kaleidoscope of close-lipped smiles,
tipped chins and gentle nods.

A squat man arrives at his electric car,
puts his top hat in the trunk.

I had a black horse once that stepped high,
pulled a carriage.

Didn’t like to be stalled.

A woman passes,
blooming cherries on her fan,

her eyes
downcast in my direction.

This is the new modesty, she seems to say.
There’s romance in self-protection.



Nicole Michaels lives in North Carolina where she attends graduate school in the Department of English at East Carolina University in Greenville. A California native, Nicole was raised at the base of Mount Tamalpais in beautiful Mill Valley. Educated at Stanford University, Nicole spent several years raising in goats in Wyoming where the pedagogy of the land was the best teacher. She is currently apprenticing in the low country, with spring bloom and the occasional thunderstorm and irascible chickens.

#FlattenTheCurve: Social Distancing by J.P. Dancing Bear


A man asked over the internet,
Do you know anyone who has gotten sick?
None of his friends say Yes,
and he convinces someone
to venture outside.
The obvious point that what we’ve done
Is working, is lost on them.

Today, I fried the last two eggs.
I thought of tipping my hat to Carruth
and chasing them with the final shot
of whiskey.

I’ll need to go to the empty aisles
of my local grocery store soon.
I will have to suit up, say a prayer.

I’ve listened to the news all day again…
The world is a positive test result,
the world is a false negative,
the world tested positive
on a second wave, and now
no one knows how we end.

The Money Demon says it’s time
to go back to our work—Only old
people die.

It’s not true.

People die before
they get their results.
In their kitchens. Or bundled
on their couch, binge watching
the stories of love and death.
Drowning horribly, gasping unheard
into the lonely air of their rooms.

Did I mention that in the emptiness
of my room, I answered yes?
I had some friends who died.



J. P. Dancing Bear (Featured Poet, October, 2017) is co-editor for the Verse Daily and Dream Horse Press. He is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, most recently, Cephalopodic (Glass Lyre Press, 2015), and Love is a Burning Building (FutureCycle Press, 2014). His work has appeared or will shortly in American Literary Review, Crazyhorse, the DIAGRAM and elsewhere.


Photograph by Wren Tuatha.

#FlattenTheCurve: Guidelines in a Pandemic by Connie Post


Don’t touch anything
not the doorknob
nor elevator button
or the jagged space
your cleaved lungs

wear a mask
to protect others
wear a mask
to hide your cyanotic self
the blue of your lips
the exact hue
of the ocean
we’ve smothered

don’t let the
dead whale’s carcass
float too close
to your bed

the small bits of plastic
inside the remains
will remind you
of dying
with plastic in your body

as if they
were trying to tell
their own story

and the body bags
washing up to shore
were not our own



Connie Post served as Poet Laureate of Livermore, California (2005 to 2009). Her work has appeared in Calyx, One, River Styx, Slipstream, Spoon River Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Slippery Elm, The Pedestal Magazine, and Verse Daily. Her Awards include the 2018 Liakoura Award the 2016 Crab Creek Review Poetry Award and the Caesura award. Her first full length Book, Floodwater,  won the Lyrebird Award. Her second full length book, Prime Meridian,  was released January 3, 2020; both published by Glass Lyre Press.

#FlattenTheCurve: It’s the little things by Kendra Nuttall


like lavender and lemon drifting
through the air from the essential oil factory,

sunlight coming through the windows,
and my dog snoring in bed.

Like kolaches fresh out of the oven,
cookies on my doorstep, and

my husband playing the same song
on the guitar over and over,

until I imagine myself somewhere
in the Caribbean, before cruise ships

became Titanic and Titanic was just a movie.
When a titanic disaster wasn’t just an iceberg

or a cough away. It’s the little things like talking
on the phone with my mother and writing poetry about

old shipwrecks and new pandemics to pass the time
until words and pictures on screens become reality.



Kendra Nuttall is a writer and poet from Utah. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Utah Valley University with an emphasis on creative writing. Her work has previously appeared in Spectrum Literary Journal, Capsule Stories, Chiron Review, and Maudlin House, among others. She currently lives in Utah, with her husband and dog.


Art by Jenn Zed

#FlattenTheCurve: Carnival Coming by Indran Amirthanayagam


I am telling you, carry the torch now: Kamau he gone, Derek before
him. But you are walking still on the Savannah and back to Belmont,
your belly flat, to spice the channa, stir cow heel into the soup. You
have always cooked your own food, writing perfect miniatures, stories
of little people in little houses with no back door, sea shaping island,
keeping lovers, hand in hand, on the beach. Now, the virus has entered
along with migrants and visitors. Everybody is afraid. Everybody
thinking where did this community hand-off begin. And you are there
saying stop sowing fear of the other, of the wide world beyond
the back door. Stop saying the Lord cometh Stop talking plague
and black death. But I am saying everybody so easily, and we without
a thought, blind to walls going up, fortress Europe, fortress Peru,
fortress United States. Politicians say these are temporary, to stop
SARS-Cov-2. But evil makes evil in its name, people blocked
from their dream, the promised land an illusion. What was
the world like I ask in 1999? What will our world become
after the vaccine, when planes start to fly and islands welcome
the necessary tourist dollars, and Benetton, world socialism
and the United Nations jostle to become fashionable
once more, and you walking the Savannah imagining
the next mask you will sew for the mother of all carnivals.



Indran Amirthanayagam (www.indranmx.com) writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Haitian Creole. He has published seventeen poetry collections thus far, including  The Migrant States (www.hangingloose.com), Coconuts on Mars (www.paperwall.in), En busca de posada (Editorial Apogeo, Lima, 2019) and Paolo 9 (Manofalsa, Lima, 2019). The Elephants of Reckoning (Hanging Loose Press) won the Paterson Prize. Uncivil War (Tsar/Mawenzi House) tells the history of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems (Hanging Loose Press) was written in the wake of the Asian Tsunami of 2004. Other books include Il n’est de solitude que l’île lointaine (Legs Editions), and Ventana Azul (El Tapiz del Unicornio). He directs Poetry at the Port in Silver Spring. He is on the Board of Directors of DC-ALT, an association of literary translators. He writes for the newspaper Haiti en Marche. Amirthanayagam has received fellowships from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, The US/Mexico Fund for Culture and the Macdowell Colony.

#FlattenTheCurve: The Silence of a Pope by Shalom Galve Aranas


Watching Pope Francis
during the Easter Mass
deep in reverie
so hurt
he stands beneath
the rain in silence, so alive
like only a human can
speaking to the edge
of God’s mantle,
so humble is his silence
pleading for us
because it is now time
to ask God
God, we deserve
to live
because we love
and because we fight
evil in whatever form
it takes.



Shalom Galve Aranas is a freelance writer published in Stereo Stories, The Literary Heist, The Blue Nib, and elsewhere. She is a loving, single mother of two.

#FlattenTheCurve: The World as She Knew It by Jean Varda


She sat at a window musing about how it used to be apple blossoms in Spring, the call of a Robin, her mother calling her to the kitchen for home made ginger cookies and tea. She thought of her husband how they met at the Veterans Hall and danced a waltz in slow harmony and of her days as a nurse serving overseas. The terror in the eyes of her coworkers when the London hospital was bombed, how relieved she felt that they were in the Silhouette being served tea and scones when they heard the news. She thought of the look in the soldier’s eyes when he died in her arms and then she couldn’t think anymore. She could only look out the window and rock, her knitting comforting her hands, she wasn’t allowed to go out as the virus had spread to her neighborhood and all her friends were dead; granted they were an elderly group, but still… Now the sky was never clear a haze of smoke and fog hung over it at all times, meals on wheels brought her food and Pepper her kind nurse would visit once a week and take her blood pressure, but still she was so very lonely. It relaxed her to go over her memories as she knit and crocheted like colorful beads or seashells on the sand they comforted her and her cat, Angel Boy, he purred so loudly while kneading her lap. She didn’t even go outside anymore, the air was unhealthy to breathe these days, once in a great while it would rain and she would put on her slicker and go outside to garden and inhale the sweet perfume of fresh air. Sometimes at night she had to wear oxygen because she had been diagnosed with emphysema ten years before and she’d never smoked, she knew her life was mostly over and that was OK with her, she had lived such a wonderful life. She just ached inside when she thought of her little granddaughter just turning twenty eight and already with health problems and the stress of an older woman, God Bless and keep her she thought as she nodded over her knitting and heard a robin’s sing.



Jean Varda gave her first poetry reading in 1971 at the Stone Soup gallery in Boston. This was followed by performances on street corners prisons and churches with her mentor, storyteller Brother Blue. She led her first creative writing group through Boston’s Free College in the 70s then went on to lead such groups for the next thirty years. In 1980 she attended Boston poet Elizabeth McKim’s poetry therapy training at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA. She has published six chapbooks of poetry, establishing Sacred Feather Press. She has been published in numerous poetry journals.


Art by Nathan Szpigel.



#FlattenTheCurve: Cherita Sequence: Re-membering by Cynthia Anderson


how did we forget

selling wild animals
can pull the breath
straight out of us—

the revenge
of the disrespected



getting better
or worse?

who to believe
when you can’t
get tested?


line at the deli

the manager
keeps everyone
laughing like

there’s no COVID-19—
free smiles to go



the change
we need
comes down

to us



Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She has authored nine collections and co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. http://www.cynthiaandersonpoet.com

#FlattenTheCurve: The New Improved Deadly Disease by Laurinda Lind


It’s a photo-negative
future, it’s like pick
the wrong page,
like a good
gone to seed away
across the country,

couldn’t that
have come out better, how
for example
could he want
a worse president,
he couldn’t, we would
have canceled each other out

like matter
and antimatter,
still with this
killer strain
escaped to everywhere
from some lab
or leached
out of polar ice

or what else,
it’s sure as shit
not Satan, every hour
with more dead, some days
his state wins, some
days mine does,

this week I set
my hair on fire just
by standing
too close to the stove.
It’s like that. It was perfectly fine,
then gone.



Laurinda Lind lives in New York’s North Country. Some publications/acceptances are in Blue Earth Review, Midwest Quarterly, New American Writing, Paterson Literary Review, and Spillway; also anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press) and AFTERMATH: Explorations of Loss and Grief (Radix Media).

#FlattenTheCurve: Isolating my self by Marge Piercy


I have cancelled my poetry
group: no feedback on work:
writing is in essence
a lonely life.

No readings to make poems
live in others’ minds. No library
to read others’ work. Now I
read what I never wanted to:

books sent for unlikely blurbs.
Toilet paper is rare as hope.
We buy canned, frozen goods
but we’re running out of space.

What will disappear next?
I have cancelled our Pesach
with friends—a lonely seder
with two and probably one

of our cats, who are very
happy we’re stuck here.
I can’t renew my driver’s
license; can’t have lunch

with friends, attend meetings:
in fact there’s aren’t any now
except on ZOOM. House:
a coffin enclosing me.

We were already vanishing
into our phones. This will
complete our transformation
into hermits of technology.



Published with permission of Marge Piercy

Article on Passover in the time of pandemic.

#FlattenTheCurve: Random John Fox by Wren Tuatha


It’s a sterile garden and he
lies like a fishpond, still
water, and the virus swims.
Doctors are cats looking in,
pondering the pounce,
pondering the reflection.

We phone in morning
glories to the critical floor.
Each bloom believes its
story in some symmetrical,
hothouse way.

Will they find this poem,
years from now, when the cure
is common as clover,
and try to understand the stun
of randomness?

Random John Fox, who survived
a drunk driver going the wrong
way on 83, and got a shiny
new car in the deal,

who built Pride II when random
seas took The Pride of Baltimore out
of diplomacy’s service.

Diplomat John tendered a
treaty between his
child and the breakfast cupboard,
morning and morning again.

Gentle pool, John Fox would sail
around the table or the globe—
if the morning would just
wake him and say—
Today is the day.


First published in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily.



Califragile founding editor Wren Tuatha is pursuing her MFA at Goddard College. Her first collection is Thistle and Brilliant (FLP). Her poetry has appeared in The Cafe Review, Canary, Sierra Nevada Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Lavender Review, and others. Wren and partner author/activist C.T. Butler herd rescue goats in the Camp Fire burn zone of California.

#FlattenTheCurve: They Spent All Their Energy and for What by Laurinda Lind


As if it were a ghost-bat wrung from the rafters
of the house they handed
down to me, my grandparents gave

me the gene for this fear, a noose numbered
nineteen eighteen when he, a heron
of long legs and ratty lungs, stood in the street
flocking with healthy friends who were dead the next day,

and she, a hummingbird whose heart held only
so much machinery, nested at home

and watched out the window in her head while a wagon

ripe like the rot of the river drove by every day pulled
by panic and loaded with the bodies
of the no-longer-living. Yet somehow these two specimens

survived, and they look on with the pallid curiosity of
the permanently safe to see whether we will, too.



Laurinda Lind lives in New York’s North Country. Some publications/ acceptances are in Blue Earth Review, Midwest Quarterly, New American Writing, Paterson Literary Review, and Spillway; also anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press) and AFTERMATH: Explorations of Loss and Grief (Radix Media).

#FlattenTheCurve: Quarantine by Marcus Colasurdo


Fog the thief that steals the future’s far wheel.
Fog that blurs the houses four eyes.
Fog that curdles the center of memory.
Fog that corrodes the spine of the helix.
Fog that drowns the crow’s kin calls.
Fog that shipwrecks the end of the block.
Fog that soups the boulevard rancid.
Fog that blades the lamplights circle.
Fog that swallows the market’s straw basket.
Fog that cataracts my lover’s eyes.
Fog that swirls the church into swamp.
Fog that snaps the thumbs of the newborn.
Fog that stains the moon’s first promise.
Fog that fractures the guitar strings.
Fog that forces the counting of limbs.
Fog that cancels the wedding vow’s kiss.
Fog that blots the shooting star’s silver.
Fog that choke- holds the vocal cords’ morning.
Fog that buries its head in cement.
Fog that erases the tombstone’s name.
Fog that carries your sister away.
Fog that hides the ancient skeleton key.
Fog that demands a storm replace eyesight.
Fog that closes the world at dawn.
Fog that grasps for gold without sun..
so thick
no border can hold it.



Marcus Colasurdo is the author of twelve books, including the underground classic, Angel City Taxi. He’s a community activist on both east and west coasts and points in between. As a writer for page and stage, He is the founder of Urban Mobile Artists (Los Angeles) and Gimme Shelter Productions (Baltimore); non-profit organizations of artists whose performances benefit community groups such as homeless shelters, feeding programs, after school projects, literacy programs. Colasurdo is  founder of Soul Kitchens (free community meal and clothing programs) in Baltimore, Maryland and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which have provided deep-rooted nourishment and soul unity for thousands of folks over the last decade. His latest book, Heart X-Rays (co-authored with G.H. Mosson), is available at PM PRESS, Oakland, California.

#FlattenTheCurve: Send a Breeze by Don E. Walicek


Send me a breeze, evil virus
Air for souls like Eric Garner and Jamal Khashoggi
Like your victims, they whispered I can’t breathe in the final moment
Their words sought to suspend death, to sustain life

Bow to the black flag of Puerto Rico’s Calle de la Resistencia
Send me a breeze, evil virus
for Pedro Pietri’s Juan, Miguel, Milagros, Olga, and Manuel
Like your victims, they whispered I can’t breathe in the final moment

Fly unbridled by debt with steeds wild and free
Bow to the black flag of Puerto Rico’s Calle de la Resistencia
Witness the endangered ancient miracle that creates itself anew
for Pedro Pietri’s Juan, Miguel, Milagros, Olga, and Manuel

Seek out the Willomore Cedars of Africa’s southernmost cape
Fly unbridled by debt, with steeds wild and free
Dwell in their shadows until fire forces their cones to open
Witness the endangered ancient miracle that creates itself anew

Send us a breeze
that stirs the mind and releases our destructive grip
Shed your coat, bare your genes, and witness
love, the endangered ancient miracle that creates itself anew



Don Edward Walicek is a professor of linguistics at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras. His publications include the volume Guantánamo and American Empire; The Humanities Respond (Palagrave Macmillan 2018), which he co-edited with Jessica Adams. In 2019 he was a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. He serves as editor of the journal Sargasso.