Nicola Ashbrook

Batten Down The Hatches Block out the news; the multiplying. Zoom in. A whole world exists within this boundary: a school in the kitchen now, a pub in the front room, shops in the computer, friends on the phone. Husband commutes to the garden; children down the stairs. Unqualified, I tackle the curriculum. And together … More Nicola Ashbrook

Kristen Simental

Hunger and Loneliness Things almost never go according to plan. Once the terror wears off, you imagine learning new languages, maybe going for an online degree, catching up with old friends, changing your hair, spending quiet afternoons in a sunny window reading The Odyssey. Now is the time. You challenge yourself. You finally update your website, … More Kristen Simental

Zoe Turner

Coming and going  We experience ourselves in comings and goings, tending each contemplation between checkpoints. We are carried by prepositions that make our destinations possible; along the tracks to anywhere, up the stairs to bed. This morning I didn’t break the night’s fast. I trod through the aspects of my life as if it were … More Zoe Turner

David Hartley

Array In the town centre there is a gathering of news cameras. They have no crew, no anchors; just each other at a measured distance. A delicate array to advocate emptiness and then, remotely, swerved to slice the streets into new patterns to seek and accuse the ignorant. Soon, they rust to stillness. Left, perhaps, … More David Hartley

Steven Patchett

Essential Items The staggered queue ran the length of the carpark. Admission allowed, once someone had left, by bomber jacket custodians.Droned at by the tannoy to maintain social distancing. Inside, feverish panic could be tasted, a cruel sting within the aroma of fresh baked bread. We began to break the rules, as tins vanished from the shelves, … More Steven Patchett