Kate Rigby

Dying Incidentally in Lock Down There were no exceptions. We had thought to visit a dying man,a non-infectious, non-contagious,non-contentious dying man,swimming up through the oromorph. They are so old, these friendship ties,barely frayed. They bind us still,as his kind soft hands rest on the edge of life. Touch is forbidden, this much we know –the … More Kate Rigby

Caroline Sheppard

Island On Wednesdays he leaves the IslandA trip to the mainland to get our shopping.The wake from our little boatComes back to me on the shore.I whisper a prayerAnd then I feel foolish.When he returnsHe tells me how the world is.The images mix in my head with my anxietyLike the weed and brambles on the … More Caroline Sheppard

Michele Witthaus

Fever dream Last night, I dreamed that I went to church.When I arrived, the pews were full.I gazed at the mass of solemn, expectant faces.I found a seat in the corner, some distance from the crowdbut was called up nonetheless.They pronounced my name wrongyet I did not correct it.Fixing a tiny microphone to my collar, … More Michele Witthaus

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

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

Ian Richardson

Five breaths from 2020 January 1 The way we once were.Frost festival nights,frozen rivers in floodlights.Bathing in the glow. March 20 Princess Shadows at the Spring Equinox.Winter light fading,now day and dark are balanced.We drift to waterfalls edge. March 23 Crisis as the UK lockdown begins.The world’s stopped turning,virus cloning in my blood,the nights turned … More Ian Richardson

Ermelinda Makkimane

this one Baba hopes, no, yearns, to reach home. but this one wonders wasn’t home the one we just left behind. this one doesn’t like the bitter black tea prepared by ma on a makeshift chulah. o, for some sugar! this one rests, the day has turned hot. tickles baby brother. ma applies crushed leaves on innerside of thighs. this one trudgesthe warm … More Ermelinda Makkimane

Maria S. Picone

We Have Names for You Negotiating your groceries with an Instacart workerTake this hunger for the commonplace and learn,                   food insecurity Flutter of fear at receiving your annual physicalTake this tremble about going to the hospital and learn,       lack of coverage The dread that 2020 has … More Maria S. Picone

Jessica Pape

Documentary Be my camera.Let’s photograph the little girl with the pink hatbuilding a stone egg on the beach.Focus on the fact that she’s my daughter.Shift to a long shot.Someone in a high-viz vest approaching on a bike –maybe a guard asking what I am doing outsideduring lockdown, 2.5 km from my home, doing nothingEssential.A close-up: … More Jessica Pape

Manuela Palacios

The Kids And, now, plenty of time to look at them,to follow their games, their fun and frolics,to consider their growth, their glee and glamourthe revelation of this Spring’s fragrancesthe renewed blooming colourstheir filial attachment, the call from the wildnessthat permanent candid smile on their faces whichbiology has branded them with.They turn round and watch … More Manuela Palacios