Tony Osgood

Barrier Nursing Through clear glass: love. Between machinesAnd you, love,LiesA hard-tossed glimpseOf soft skin disappearing,And ball-shaped hopeThrown over a garden fenceThen taken in by neighbours. Sad-eye masksGreen-gownedShake heads,Say, sit:This isVentilated goodbye,An unkind farewell,Not love as you might name it. Through clear eyes: love. We wadePaused-time soilAnd marshland,Over a drowning bridgeToward sad summer. Among absent crowdsAt … More Tony Osgood

Debabrata Sahoo

Absence Hours passed. Nobody arrived. The chairs arranged in front of the house remained untouched. Unoccupied. Empty. Collecting rain and dirt in the shallow bowls of their seats. Like the chairs installed at the Krakow ghetto square.  The man who had often wished death upon his wife wept profusely at her funeral, while my brother … More Debabrata Sahoo

Daniel Andrade Amaral

May Hail It’s May in Massachusetts and it’s hailing out with the sun. Pellets blitz me. Those hitting pavement roll along sweeps of wind. This should surprise, but last week too, a cloud relieved itself on an unsuspecting block, back where my grandfather lived, back when he was alive and I’d deliver him groceries. No … More Daniel Andrade Amaral

Maurice Devitt

My Neighbour Going out for my daily walk I scour the road. Probably having his nap, I surmise jubilantly to myself and set off. Halfway down, there’s no turning back, when he rounds the corner and is headed straight for me. Hails me from thirty feet, his voice clamouring as he approaches. I shrink back. … More Maurice Devitt

Dominique Hecq

Daybreak unfurls its curtain of light. Sunshine turns away from your window. You become a nomad. Walk towards the edge of the civilised world. Set yourself apart. Look for the real on the edge of insanity. With every pace, the weight of your body shifts. There is nothing solid underfoot. You try chassés with and without port de … More Dominique Hecq

Paras Abbasi

The city burns. Not from fire but from the invisible cloud of smoke, as if sent from above. From misery that comes different from different houses. From subdued bodies that are locked inside the doors – it burns from clouds of muffled voices, only leaking through holes in the walls. Upon arrival of summer, the … More Paras Abbasi

Alison Lock

Germ Hunt I am at the wide end of a telescope looking up at my tiny self. What do I see? A person full of anxiety about an invisible thing. Now, she is washing her hands for important work. A surgeon preparing to expunge the invisible, to sanitise surfaces, clean door handles, even to disinfect … More Alison Lock

Lori Tucker-Sullivan

Phone Calls We met on New Year’s Eve. Two days into lock-down, he called. We spent hours sharing more than we should. After, I thought how dangerous dating is during end times. Now, our frequent calls are easy. I curl up like a teenager, talking quietly so her parents can’t hear. It’s brave, I think, … More Lori Tucker-Sullivan

Brian Kirk

Palimpsest Kids almost grown but the house more crowded than ever.I’m clearing out the room downstairs, full of accumulated junk,half-forgotten remnants of a life, tokens, totems of another person’s life.I come across all these pages, some typed, some handwritten, that I can’tremember writing and among them I find the stories that you wrote, typedon the … More Brian Kirk

Sarah Jones

Noises Off It is always quiet in my little corner of the world.But now….The sewing machines of my seamstress neighbour are silent.I no longer hear the passing of the school bus, morning and afternoon, which gave a structure to my day.No whining weedwackers and leaf blowers in the gardens, airplane engines, or heavy trucks on … More Sarah Jones