Month: February 2021

“Carol Anne” by Kelly Curran

There are dogs next door, in the house to the right of Carol Anne’s. And not just one or two. She’s tried counting them based on the different barks, but she always loses track. When a siren whines down the road, they all start howling, almost screaming. It’s as if they’re mourning something, perhaps their freedom. Though Carol Anne is not one to get involved with conflict, she’s called Animal Control 3 times since moving here last year. They say there’s nothing they can do for the dogs. At night, Carol Anne stares up at the ceiling, crying, and sometimes she can hear the dogs doing the same. She wonders if the sirens take the place of the moon for them the same way her ceiling does for her.  Carol Anne had never liked her name. The only other people she knew with the name Carol Anne were old people — plus the little girl from The Poltergeist, so that wasn’t very reassuring. To make matters worse, she had bright red hair that often took …

“Will it Hurt?” by Lindsey Anthony-Bacchione

The seasons had passed seamlessly in Los Angeles with a gentleman’s handshake of ten degrees difference between them. Spring had warmed to summer, had warmed to fall, and now we were here having surpassed the crest of the heat in Southern California. The climate fires had all been put out, but the air was still dry. The Santa Ana winds were still blowing.  My husband and I had stopped turning the calendar pages months before. A new baby can do that. Two new babies will assure that. Two new babies, two young children, and a global pandemic will render all markers of the passage of time useless. Los Angeles was still on lockdown on multiple fronts: COVID, protests that turned violent, job loss, an economy in free fall, a country held hostage. Isolation was a word that was trending. The topic had become the source of research and art.  How was isolation affecting children?  How was isolation affecting teenagers?  How was isolation affecting parents?  Mothers?  How was isolation affecting people who were single, living alone? …

“Verses Almost Sent to a Lingering Flame” by Adrian Cepeda

When I close the screen, I feel the light softly go out in the room where your pixelated cheeks just blushed for me. I wonder if, all the way on the other side of your universe, when closing your laptop, do you feel the sounds of our instant disconnection? Feeling   screenshot in isolation, with every Zoom remaining so close yet further away, glimpsing you, glowing  there with one click, turn on the hotspot seeking out the reconnection, yet somehow, we are always waiting for scroll news of the pandemic fading and vaccines at CVS, our wishes reach past our reflections still, is it real without masks? Making out face time, letting my fingers speak… mouthing for me scrolling up a little bit closer to our nightly  midnight view. No matter how long we link, there are no shortcuts from our flickering webcams this resolution of longing, I cursor this LED distance one day we will meet IRL, sans mask after social distancing shut-down ends our persistence instantly  messaging keeps us connected… still before signing off, always clicking sparks more than like, you love our …

“Flight Cage” by Maya Nordine

How overjoyed I was, to hear  her squawking stop so suddenly. She’d boarded after me, birdcage in hand.  Then, after the ascent, three  squawks. Maybe two.  Anyone on a plane, I’ll tell you,  can’t stand the sound.  I’d heard of puppies  dying overhead, the change  of pressure too much  for their little lungs, but birds? She reached over, lifted the cage to her face to peek between the thin,  black wires. Gave it  a small shake. A few  feathers were shed,  clinging to the cage’s frame, but that could have meant  anything. Only when she stood to walk to the back of the plane— carrying her sudden grief, the still, yellow bird— did I see her face, watching  her house, and everything  inside it, burn. Maya Nordine lives in sunny Chicago, Illinois, where she runs a virtual writing workshop called Study Hall. She holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her work has been published in bath magg, The American Journal of Poetry, Small Orange, Door Is A Jar, and TYPO. Featured Photo by Deleece …

golden Chinese lion dog head

“Yang” by Helen Doremus

It is awake in the chill morning air, dripping cold rainwater off of its snout to the cement below. It sees the stretch of parked cars, the fence ringing The Building which breaks only to force visitors past its stony paws, the sway of trees in the distance — all of this is discernible within its fixed focus, its hundred yard stare of perpetual vigilance. Its mouth is cracked open, a permanent smile full of teeth, tasting the world as it blows by. The ball, the trapped orb, below its foot warns all that they too might find themselves so pressed down if they threaten The Building and what lies within.  At the corner — the very furthest pocket — of its gaze, is its partner, its mate, its equal and opposite, the one who stands guard at the other side of the break in the fence. The shape of this mate is suggestion only, transfixed curve and sinew, open lips with soundless roar, equal and opposite forepaw raised. But here a change — beneath …

line art of two people facing one another in elaborate robes and plain robes respectively

“Death Ruins It” by Caley O’Dwyer

I face myself, the thing convincing  as a face can be, although it breaks where it should mend in laughter.  Do you believe in me though you  should believe in nothing,  where it hurts a little, that time of life that stuns  into you, so you see the future, where you stand guard, eager to accept you? Everything I’ve known, little  is more uncertain. It is like  a glow, difficult to speak of. So did we age, we as we are in the comic paternity left us by our beachcomber friends who found in their time words all around them gleaming.  It stuck and I was me, some  fraction of the truth, which  more than anything was addition.  The face is there, for a time present, then it goes into the earth, having seen through the vast prism. Sight is circles and cycles.  The face changes what it wears but always the eyes,  silent and alone, holding course  while everything that ever happened is added up then forgotten.  Quiet trench in the sea, years find …