Special Issue: Poetry of the Pandemic
Jennifer Stewart Miller
cover art: Terry Castle, Hydrangea Without a Cause, altered photograph.
Inside covers are digital negatives of cover image, made with kind permission of the artist.
7 Jessica Greenbaum
8 Scott Hightower
9 Myronn Hardy
10 Maja Lukic
12 Peter Covino
13 Jennifer Stewart Miller
14 Jason Schneiderman
15 M.C. Bolster
16 Sean Singer
17 David Groff
18 Frances Richey
19 Joanne Proulx
21 Marilyn Mazur
22 Denton Loving
23 James Brasfield
24 Maya Mahmud
26 Julio César Paz González
27 Jane Wallace Pearson
28 Marlena Maduro Baraf
29 Michael Broder
30 Amelia Ross
31 Sebastian Matthews
32 Carmen Bardeguez-Brown
34 Linda Hillman Chayes
35 Aaron Smith
36 Theresa Burns
37 Joan Cappello
38 Rick Hilles
40 Michele Karas
41 Patricia J. Barnett
42 Roger Mitchell
44 Marion Brown
45 Jennifer Franklin
46 Renée Christine Ehle
47 Cassie Pruyn
48 Mindy Gill
49 Bonnie Jill Emanuel
50 Michelle Yasmine Valladares
52 Pamela Hart
53 Paolo Javier
55 Sheila Rabinowitch
56 Sherry Stuart-Berman
57 Martha Rhodes
58 Katherine Harris
59 Matthew Thorburn
60 Mary Ellen Pelzer
61 Curtis Bauer
62 Daniel Lawless
63 Sarah Van Arsdale
65 Joanna D. Brown
66 Ron Slate
68 Kay L. Cook
69 Patricia Spears Jones
71 Neil Shepard
72 Kaye McDonough
74 Elaine Sexton
75 Ruth Danon
Special Issue: Poetry of the Pandemic
All the poems in this issue are new. We solicited work with no stated
theme. In some cases, timeliness took precedence over polish in order
to shape a true documentary of this time of necessary protest and
necessary (when possible) self-isolation.
These poems may be read in any order, but the order of appearance
follows a timeline of the rapidly changing world from March to early
July, 2020. The majority of the poems, as well as the cover image,
were made in April and May. The impact of the killing of George Floyd
at the hands of police in Minneapolis, MN, which subsequently led to
worldwide protests, was just beginning to be felt at the time of our
original deadline in June.
We thank our contributors, writers and makers living or sheltering
in place all over the U.S., from Maine to Tennessee, New Jersey to
Florida, North Carolina to San Francisco and New York; and abroad,
from Thailand, Australia, Canada, Vietnam, and France. Personally, I’d
like to thank my two co-editors, the poets Jennifer Stewart Miller and
Joan Cappello, who joined me in every aspect of editing and handling
this issue. The logo and thoughtful design of 2 Horatio, from its
inception, is by John Kramer, my friend and collaborator. I thank him,
once again, for making a graceful space for poetry here.
New York City
Going for a Run Without My Glasses
because they fog up with the mask on
so I thought I would try it and I started in the park
on the early, rainy side of spring, the light green trees
like a tune that was going to get louder, with added bass
by June, and the crabapple and cherry blossoms
like lacey colored clouds fallen over some branches
and the next time around I thought they were held up
by the branches, and after a squint I realized
that the blue patches on the ground were only dropped
gloves even though I’d pass a trash can the next
moment but I liked seeing the whole park as a moving
composition, as if in CAD/CAM as I jogged around it
and on the dark morning someone walked by with a yellow
briefcase and they might have been a wandering
tulip and for a split second where to, I wondered?
This Artless Virus
This artless virus doesn’t have
in times of uncertainty
like I do. This virus doesn’t have
legs, it wants mine.
This virus doesn’t have
skin, it wants mine.
This virus doesn’t have
hands, it wants mine.
This virus doesn’t have
eyes, it wants mine.
This virus doesn’t have
lungs, it wants mine.
This virus doesn’t have
life, it wants mine.
This virus doesn’t compose
songs. This virus doesn’t have
like I do. This virus
doesn’t have a reckless
heart, it wants mine.
Ode to a Gray Sofa
From where I stare ceiling cracks.
Then the azure cracks of sky so many
cirrus clouds moving. Your wool
makes me itch or is it my lewd linger?
Always here my back here.
Blue duvet over me you.
Empty peanut butter cookie sleeves over me
Pretzel crumbs I’m watching
too many terrible movies.
We are in a terrible movie documentary.
Dire leadership the world abhors us.
We are being led to die.
Cores of pears stones of nectarines
strewn before your woody feet.
This is what I offer.
Forgive me for being who I am now.
My skin graying from lack of green
vegetables motionlessness fear a
feeling of giving up.
Even though you keep me
from the floor I am not grateful.
I am ashamed for being ungrateful
in your peppy grayness.
But the woe of now weakens me.
I am weak in the strength
of your steadiness.
this is a bare side street with
a suspicious broken up sky
the neighborhood by turns too dark
and too lit
neon miasma, black trees, blue air
people stare out of their windows
down the avenue
all my neighbors in their containers wait
all the faces are still there
but rearranged in fear
it’s been years since I’ve recognized terror
it was cold last night on the park bench
when a friend and I stepped out with
bicycles and cans of Pinot Noir
we tried to map out the new year of curfews and vaccines
(how long will I have to be alone?)
a week, a month, two or more; it eats, it grows
it is time it were time, Celan said
it is time
I only ever move through time but not space
the rotating planetary days
the light cutting a path through the windows
over the ceiling, skimming the blanket
where I miss an old lover
I take my place by the window
watch the street
no one comes by so I water the plants
and read Eliot—
I can connect / nothing with nothing
I would sleep but sleep has dried away
and only a fugue state of powders and pills
brings not rest but a greater stillness
life now—sequenced stillnesses
discernible only to the one who hardly ever moves
except for walks in the park where
I hear a little boy complain to his parents about a fence:
why did they even put a fence there?
it separates nothing from nothing
me and the street I don’t enter
Forest green slick-headed mallard with choker
We swallowed the light’s comeuppance
and laid a hammock in the woods.
We peeked beneath dirt’s hooded shirt
and left the masks to rot and plastic
degrade. Occasionally cars sped by
on soundless invisible tracks redoubling
our ears. We beheld beholden birds
slicing the air, a great blue heron returned
to the city park. Two mallards resting
aplomb. I wasn’t expecting much just
a walk and wave from a fellow dogwalker
a beaver, an otter, a groundhog on the path.
Jennifer Stewart Miller
Two Dream Weddings
Personal Protective Equipment
and New Pantone Colors
For L. & B.
Providence, RI — Walking down the aisle at
R.I. Hospital’s exclusive employee parking
lot, the bride, an ER resident, was radiant
in her N95-white gown hand-stitched from
surgical drape sheets. She wore a contrasting
medical-blue mask and matching disposable
gloves and booties. While the tall, dark, and
handsomely-masked groom couldn’t really
kiss the bride, you could still see the joy in
his and her eyes.
Waitsfield, VT — The sky was medical-mask
blue, dotted with a few N95-white clouds
floating serenely by, as the happy bride and
groom stood on the scrub-green lawn under
viral-orange maple trees, and—with a few
casually-tuxedoed cows in the adjacent pasture
as witnesses—exchanged their vows—in
sickness and in health, until death do us
part—love, as usual, the only PPE.
At my drink-drunk-drunketty-unkest
I lay down in the road to see the stars
more clearly. I laughed a tequila shot
through my nose onto a man trying
to pick me up at a club. I decided I had
to translate Akhmatova at that very moment,
and woke up my host family by searching loudly
for her collected works. I threw up
in someone’s bed, again through my nose,
which may be a theme in my drunkenness.
I called my friend’s green card marriage
a green card marriage for the entirety
of a party, despite her insistence
that her gay husband was her husband
and that her family was not a ploy
or a trick or a legal fiction. Each time I stopped
drinking so heavily, for a year, two years,
three years, and I’m not admitting
to much here, a handful of stories across
two decades, the moments I thought
I ought to drink a bit less, and yet it bears
saying that every weepy drunk considers
himself a kind drunk; every mean drunk
considers himself an honest drunk,
and every handsy drunk considers himself
a flirty drunk. And is it so terrible, the joys
and regrets of drunkenness, if they’re just
a one off, if they don’t become a habit,
if we can disappear and come back?
I’m not sorry I saw the stars from
that gutter, though my sober sympathies lie
with the sober driver who was furious
that I had almost made him a murderer.
What I remember best is those stars,
and how they were as beautiful as any stars
could be and how much they meant to me
with my inhibitions stripped, and how well
I can still see them now.
My rogue tooth
falls out of place
every three days.
Tricky to salvage
as it drops,
a giant pebble
mixing with bits of oatmeal
swirling in cold Corona
slipping out with no warning
as I listen to Adele’s swoon—
endless love in the arms
of a chiseled cowboy.
My rogue tooth is fake—
a thousand-dollar fake,
clone of a tooth,
a stand-in for missing molars
lost to age and Hershey bars.
Jarred loose from my jaw
just as the world shut down.
Today in the taxi a passenger got in and she was crying. I don’t
know why. We left Astoria for Williamsburg. I gave her a little
package of tissues and she went on her way.
Kafka said crying is especially alarming for me. I cannot cry. When
other people cry, it seems to me like a strange, incomprehensible
I thought maybe she was going through a breakup, or perhaps it
was a passage in a novel.
Some people think of Williamsburg as the “hipster apocalypse”
and others, the Orthodox, know the Lord is there with them.
She’s pushing a shopping cart full of plastic bottles rescued from
Crying literally means “to ask for loudly.” She mumbles through a
drop of saltwater, but She’s really saying: You are worthy of asking
and having your question heard.
The boy at the window opposite leans out
with his mother at 7 p.m. to bang a pot
for nurses and doctors whose risk he doesn’t get,
his percussion like gunshots on the wall
of our brick forts. He’s loud as he can be, the boy
squirming in his dollhouse quarantine.
He’s grinning, maybe thinking our applause
is his, that he’s the engine and the wheel,
all the coiled city jangling at his toy.
What grace to be and know too little. If only I
could be a boy again, could call up ghosts
a shriek would send to bed, could find
some joy in noise, could sleep without
the fever of my fear, could clutch a hand.
Dead leaves hop on dry
tips down vacant city streets—
Warning to the Sea Turtle in Oman
Laying Her Eggs in the Moonlight
For your hatchlings those
construction lights on shore can
be false moons that kill.
my phone rings
my daughter is calling from
the park behind our building
“come down” she says “the ice is perfect”
at night we break quarantine and
escape our glassy nest
in the daylight hours we call our mothers
our friends in France, our sons and sisters
just to hear them say I’m having soup for dinner
or today I saw a beautiful grey rabbit in the yard
their voices—how could we have forgotten?
fools to believe comments pecked onto screens
offered the same sort of miracle
in 20 point, all caps red, the sign in the hall
instructs us to let the elevator pass if
someone is already inside
yet for days the doors have opened onto
spot-lit emptiness, gleaming brass handrails and
a whiff of lemon-scented ammonia
if each story of a high-rise is 12 feet
in height and a family of three lives on the 11th
floor how far is their fall back to earth
simple math for complex times
we’re all homeschoolers now
studying exponential growth curves
the behavior of skittish mammals in fresh captivity
the force required to ventilate a drowning lung or
dash the hardest heart open into kindness
I descend ____ feet to the lobby
outside the world empty as the elevator
the moon subbing in for the sun
a digger of dirt I want to press my sterile
hands to every surface
French kiss the light post
dosey doe with the willow
bathe in the thawing canal
my daughter waits in the park
by a puddle skimmed with spring ice
we thrill at the give
the toes of our boots pressed to its surface
her hand casually resting on my shoulder
we offer up the full weight of our bodies
teasing our luck, shrieking as it cracks
we are all wet-footed fledglings now
praying that the ice will hold us
my spade forages spring ramps in the woods
we barbecue salmon, the patio white with snow
zoom, zoom, zoom—social distancing all day
I edit my grandson’s mandrill monkey poem
with tears, I sort old photos of my late sister
a zoom seder—a zeder—commingles us
I hum Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as I swab kitchen counters
my daughter will intubate infected patients tonight
a snowy ski trail snakes up the bare slope
the still-brown mountain boasts a line of green pine trees
Banded Galloway cows loll in my neighbor’s field
cloud shadows sit on the distant mountain
a dozen red robins dig worms in my front lawn
the rain leaves teardrops on the window
a sheriff’s car drives down the road twice daily
it will feel like Pearl Harbor this week
Sam Cooke croons Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep
we chant ancient prayers, murmurs that balm
my truck—with Vermont plates—jostles over a bump
here’s your order. thank you—I pick up groceries curbside
the chickadees sing: excuse me, excuse me, excuse me
what to do about the chirping bird’s nest in the fireplace?
April 10, 2020
John Prine died this week from the virus, and fifty-thousand others
around the world. My mom turned 75. Instead of birthday cake
and a party, three rabbits jumped and chased each other in circles
around her house. Every state was a self-declared disaster, but not
everyone’s isolation was the same. Those of us with too much time
on our hands cleaned out garages, basements, storage sheds. Our
dumpsters overflowed with dry-rotted clothes, broken-down kitchen
gadgets, back issues of National Geographic. From my barn loft, I
rescued a box of my old toy cars. My favorite: a blue Tonka twoseater—missing
its back wheels, another sign to shelter in place.
The super moon—perfect light for stalking prey—called my cat to
action. At 4 a.m. I let her outside. I could see far into the fields where
the cattle glowed like ghosts.
Hour upon hour the stillness
of boulders on the beach
and the tall trees on the bank,
one a birch, its buds fattening . . .
now, suddenly, the wind-wavering
saplings, the waving branches
and leaves: such patience,
until the sound of it all—
an unmindful diligence
moves the second hand.
You don’t have to answer
Good things happen
when people are allowed
to make up new words.
It requires skill to observe
without naming any objects.
The same skill
can be used to observe
without psychoanalyzing them.
with a modicum
and watch your life
dissolve like sugar
on your tongue.
Without a watch
the same person
only less controlled.
Don’t expect your friends
to always excite you.
The trick is to keep eye contact,
even through a computer screen.
keep you accountable
to your patterns,
making it complicated when
you’d like to dispel
past iterations of character.
Love is a long stare.
If you’re unsure about
what you believe,
observe the way
your body reacts
when you lie.
Sunlight is less intense
with one eye closed.
You are charming
when you ask
If you remember
you are breathing
more becomes possible.
When you think erratically,
a kind of religion is born
Wearing a face mask
keeps you safe from illness but,
makes lipstick obsolete.
Small insects have a sharp bite.
is like pouring bleach
in everyone’s drinking water.
Be aware of your silences.
Julio César Paz González
he wanted me to write a love poem
but if we don’t love each other’s shit;
the daily struggle with the stained seat,
the wine-injected gaze, the guts, folding
cheap toilet paper into daisies, the smoke
coming out of my lips when I think I love
then what’s left? for now, this will suffice
Jane Wallace Pearson
Daffodils don’t care.
Impassive on the sill
above the sink,
their yellow-deckled edges
remind you of all the letters
you never had time to write
and now you do.
I expect no one to be impressed
by my private economies,
how I dress;
I wear only one sweater;
eat the last small piece of cheese;
usher a fly
out the back door to please
[“Whose woods these are….”]
A young stranger came to our door today,
I shook his hand, forgetting,
and said I didn’t know.
As he walked away
I was arrested
by the seat of his pants,
stained with fingers of oil and dust, sagging flat as an open palm,
gray-green of dying grass.
Marlena Maduro Baraf
Farrow and Ball, “White Tie”
Paper white with a hint of yellow and a minor complication of
brown to bind it to earth. Used often for trim on houses, it takes
on a supporting role to vibrant hues and complex muted ones.
The Phalaenopsis white orchid, sturdy and bold, anchors the
sideboards in New York City model apartments with views of
the river. The coarse petals and sepals are shot with sparkles
like stardust. If you look at the underside you will see a blush of
mauve or pink and faint transparencies of the green of their bud
Daniel picks the white star studded orchid for the drama, the size
of the gesture that says I love big. I love you with flair. I am a good
guy. He loads the love with variegated purple varieties, blossoms
articulated with symmetrical fuchsia fingers and bloody throat.
What is the underside of a giant nautilus shell? Is it the flaky,
chalky exterior drying in the sun? Or the glossy intermittently
reflective pink of its mouth? Even the underbelly of a weathered
cement pot bleaches from grey to almost white on the inside
belly next to the old soil.
The years drip off my fingernails. We churn and become the
underside. And the other side, bold and transparent, supporting
First Thing in the Morning of April 13, 2020
You sip your coffee. You take your meds. You
feed your kitties. You check your email, your social media.
You used to get straight to coffee and your poem.
Now you are far more distracted. Now before you
write your poem, you check the headlines. Cannot
start your day without knowing yesterday’s death
toll, if a new clinical trial started treating patients with an
experimental drug. You anticipate the governor’s
daily press briefing, live streamed on Facebook
or watched later if you miss it. It’s your Mr. Rogers.
It’s your fireside chat. One of your backyard feral
cats looked sickly, and then stood off and looked
at dinner but did not eat, and then just did not come
back—you assume he’s dead; that’s how they do it;
you’ve seen it before. And it has nothing to do
with the pandemic, and yet it seems to—
everything that happens during this time—
a new TV show you start watching, a book you read
for a few minutes at bedtime before your Ambien
kicks in—everything seems to be Covid-19 edition,
everything seems connected to the—you like the
term “health crisis,” which nobody seems to use.
That’s what they called AIDS—the health crisis.
Then you were marginalized and the federal government
dismissed your plight. Now you have marriage rights
and characters in TV shows, movies, and stage plays—
and the federal government fucks everyone else
right along with you. Plus ça change.
She would have been a copyist in the 19th century,
if a woman were lucky enough to get a job.
Skilled with words, hired because she was bright,
pretty, though not enough to stand out. She learned to save,
some years did not take a vacation, always
paid for her own health insurance. Not a woman of
independent means, she never knew if she were
better off alone.
His unemployment insurance ran out.
Congress recessed without passing the promised extension.
Now a discouraged worker, no longer
counted in unemployment figures.
Highly educated. He sold for his boss, managed
clients, understood knotty business problems.
Everyday approached the search with an attitude.
Sold himself, sent emails with good cover letters and resumes.
Paid the rent with his savings.
Dusk in the Pandemic
It’s late in the algebra of the day,
dogs on their sides; I’m trying
to solve for the color blue
as the world crashes to the ground
in a heap of steel and plastic.
Join me for a drink? A walk?
Carry me through a song
that carries in it an antidote for fear.
Let’s sit a while and contemplate
the simple truths: tea tannins, piano
solo, dog fart. What I’m looking for
is an angle of light, a chill breeze
shot through the body
straight into my criminal heart.
Timbales Maracas y Trompetas
Beauty is in the
of the beholder.
Laugh with your eyes open.
Acuérdate que camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente.
Preparate para que nunca tengas que depender de nadie.
Y qué se cree esa prieta
You only live once.
La vida es para vivirla.
You are pretty for your kind.
Flatten the curve.
Wear a mask.
I can’t breathe.
Another black man killed by the police.
Acuérdate que camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente.
The zip codes
the zip codes
the zip codes.
Linda Hillman Chayes
When the world
and breath are braking,
is there any sleep to be had?
With time in play, did we speak
the day before or the day after?
When will I love air?
Isn’t it enough that childhood ghosts
steal my voice?
When company arrives uninvited,
what words can be spoken?
When a word escapes me, why do all
its sidekicks knock around my brain, bickering?
Will longing, boxed, combust?
Can you reach into Zoom and grab
your child from an adjacent square?
After the storm, the wet trees, hazy sky
and I remember when I was young
in West Virginia, leaving into a life
I believed I would be happy in.
And the humid air. And bird noise. Then nobody
I loved had died yet. My mother
hadn’t sobbed into a phone.
I hadn’t been alone yet, unneeded
the same way I needed. A man
hadn’t given me flowers
in a brown paper bag.
It was opera out there—
it had been raining all day—
the trees were slaying
the clouds and stealing their mists.
I rushed to get you
to walk with me through the beast
of it, but you refused
my overtures, learned further
into our usual.
I cursed you, set out on my own,
returned twenty minutes later,
fiery eyed and still
hungry. You missed the double rainbow,
I howled, on my way
to set the table.
Not till dinner was finished,
the plates and glasses racked,
did you show me the picture you caught
on your phone.
Twin arcs high above the houses
one red-edged, inflamed,
the other already fading.
the sum of his worth
every night we skype
and he tells me things
like how i weigh too much
to be an actress
and that smell has no words
and the long story of how
donna rocco’s nose
came to be tipped
ever so slightly to the right
“it has to do with storage space”
he yells over the sound of
loneliness bouncing off our walls
launching him into a dissertation
on the seven levels of silence
until my sky goes black
and he smiles
then takes a sip from
the trick glass
i once bought him as a souvenir
Binge-watched Tiger King.
Like being nibbled to death
Slowly by goldfish!
Ate a banana.
Ate another banana.
Feel about the same.
Been practicing it? Yes. Thanks!
(Since I left the womb!!)
Nursing a dry cough
From a noose to an ascot.
(Thank God it’s asthma!)
Third time this morning:
Caught a wasp in a tall glass
Then took it outside.
As if it needed
Me to say: Don’t drag your legs!
Pollinate!! (It’s Spring!)
Back to Tiger King:
If I don’t cut my hair soon,
Call me MULLET King.
Spring, how you taunt me!
Even my yard’s green lushness
Dares me to mow it.
For the longest time
I waited to cut the grass.
(The grape hyacinths!)
Now the lawn is mowed.
(Did it with a push mower!)
It made a toy sound.
Checking out the yard
After last night’s frost. The peach
Tree’s fruit: soft, so cold!
After last night’s frost
The banana trees’ green leaves:
Fists of brown leather.
The lavender bush
Returned with such a vengeance!
Bees study its ways.
They have left their fears
Inside with me, as they get
Back to their real work.
Speaking of real work,
I need to come clean, the way
Flowers are Earth’s dreams.
Last day at the lake
Before all State Parks closed, saw
The great blue heron
Landing on a log,
A fallen tree covered in
Turtles. (So many!)
I stood in shadows,
Watching the ordinary
Then heard a bright voice
From behind: charming, witty.
(Could it be?!?!) Hassaan!
With Becca and Yi!
Those darling people, giggling
How much I wanted
To embrace them all then when
The terrible thought
Filled me completely:
What if I had the virus
And gave it to them?
Typhoid Marys I’ve heard still
Spread the contagion!)
Of course the thought cuts
Both ways: and I am older.
Even more at risk!
Like the turtles there
I froze. Fell silent. Vanished.
The most loving thing
I could do, I thought.
To stand with them like turtles
Before the heron
Not disturbing their
Loveliness, or anything
Else at Radnor Lake.
The thought pains me still.
Then, looking at my yard now,
All the waking things:
The peach tree, waking
Up with the banana trees,
And the fig’s first leaves….
For now, let’s embrace
In the scents of lavender
And crushed rosemary!
Dreams For Our Future:
The lights turn on in all rooms
Of a great white house.
Crumbling to the seas
All mountains that were dung-hills.
Safe now to embrace.
Elegy for a Fallen Grosbeak
In the road
a smear of black and white
Has the sky dropped a handkerchief?
How easy it is, I think, to slip
a thing so exquisite from a fixed place
and care so little as not
to retrieve it.
It troubles me
enough to circle back.
When I approach the torn
corner of silk, it does not startle
Nor, when I kneel to scoop it up,
does the bundle of bone
and feather—no heavier
than a garlic bulb—
cease its cooling in my palm.
The tiny mechanisms
that are his talons
ringlet around an invisible high wire,
and suddenly I too am tumbling
flightless in a hailstorm.
If the earth is a magnet,
so is everything in it—
all of us resisting, and failing to resist, the pull
of each other or something else.
Tell me, what leaves with the Living
when the Living change form?
Patricia J. Barnett
Sky’s mask rises, falls.
Is it dawn or is it dusk?
Does it matter? Yes.
All around us forgotten knowledge stirs.
My father almost never mentioned his,
whom I discovered died of typhus
in the great epidemic of 1918,
a man who was mentioned only as he
who died of cirrhosis of the liver,
who wanted to be like his father,
a doctor, who wouldn’t allow it.
Too hard a life in the days of horses
and buggies. Calls for help at any hour.
Dead at forty and later buried
where his father was the following year.
Who may have given his son the disease
that killed him, working to save a few
of the tens of thousands bringing death
back from France. Then died of it himself.
Or of grief at having killed his son’s wish,
and then his son, the man whose jacket hangs
in my closet, a white flannel sport coat,
“1901” blazoned across it in red,
who it was said became an engineer,
and someone his son rarely mentioned.
In the last census he answered
he called himself a salesman. Of what
he didn’t say, perhaps wasn’t asked.
Last fall, on a visit from my cousin,
she told me years ago her mother,
his daughter, told her she heard,
at eight, quarantined with him,
his last choked breaths,
heard the rattle, when the mouth
can’t swallow its own saliva.
That would have been enough for me
never to mention, never to want to,
had I been there. As, for some reason,
I want to imagine my father was.
How full silence must be,
that so little is remembered.
In the hollow of the crescent
moon, a vagrant cloud—
my grandmother’s hand stirs
the pot, the ring finger missing
its tip. I do not credit signs,
but even a blunt finger points.
Oma, the sorceress, bargaining
for roots, borrowing
from an empty purse,
reading the wheel of fortune,
comes back at night to stir
the silver cup where I never drink
or turn over the cards.
What good is money? Fretting about a ruptured supply chain, I
smile at gaps on a pantry shelf among stolid cans of tomatoes
and tuna—my sliver of self-denial. I channel Oma, who scraped
through two world wars in Berlin. Turning off lights to save, she
sometimes told my brother and me, “Amerikaner sind glücklich.”
Americans are hungry, not lucky. Unemployment soars to its
worst level since the Depression. I scan the NY Times. On the
front page, the President brags about cutting SNAP—food for
Memento Mori: Pompeii
In my favorite fresco, a skull hovers over
a speckled blue butterfly and wooden wheel—
soul versus fortune. Ancient citizens near Vesuvius
gazed at the same sunken eye sockets—
unprepared for disaster as they drank wine
and dined with cutlery top-heavy with silver skulls.
Two years ago, I was one of thousands to walk these ruins.
Now the poppies of Pompeii are untrampled during our plague.
We wait while politicians and scientists decide when
we can return outside without endangering ourselves
and others. On Hart Island, workers in hazmat suits dig
mass graves. According to archeologists, humankind’s
most lasting contribution to earth will be the endless stash
of chicken bones we buried in the soft soil.
Renée Christine Ehle
but i like to be alone
but alone i am being
like a lone
wart on my own
pain(ful) nor (un)known
but quiet is a peace
but just a piece
of me pierced
to be a kind of hole
bored and narrow
but streets are clean
but a blossom dropped
a pink cherry blossom
on blank concrete
(un)seen and (un)seized
dropped and passing
but nature is noticed now
but the pale raccoon
waddles in the light
before the evening
and in the morning out
of its normal
but on this ordinal day
the void returns
and undoes creation
To the Tree in the Field
Giant broccoli floret, yellow trapped in green, fabric filled with
holes, living lace, ruffly riot, wind whipping up chunks of you in
disparate directions, New England tree—you’re here when I’m
not. When I was elsewhere, you grew buds on your bare branches.
Your leaves shivered out like mold, wrinkly and compressed.
You stretched them skyward and you sent them inward, leaves
fluttering into shady nooks, and now you fill up the edge of this
field and yellow infuses itself in your felt in order to get to be
here, as you, in your corner. When will I get to live in your corner,
when will the wind take me up and jostle me quiet?
The Overnight Train
On the overnight train you do not sleep.
Steel trolleys gimbal down the hallway,
and the English couple bunked below
sink cold cans of beer, hiding
their jealousies badly. That month,
so many rooms by the sea. Green coconuts,
and sweetness. Silence on the balconies.
Now a small window, two dim reading
lights. Tomorrow, a mountain house
above the paddies, where we will sit
and watch the stars ice over, our hands
touching occasionally, having not yet
come to the end. The town lights flaring out.
Young muscular dogs prowling the streets.
Bonnie Jill Emanuel
The shimmer of the wind
gliding across the land with dandelion
seeds, flax-yellow florets
under dead or blinking traffic lights
running, running down 9th Ave.
Shepherd’s Purse, amaranth,
clack of rats on the fire escape.
the sun on your tongue.
I’ll whisper a blue glitter field
to my screen,
it will zoom
right back to you.
O Desolate City.
Michelle Yasmine Valladares
blessed is the father who sat my brother and I down, warned
us of how we might be treated after immigration. to anticipate
the names called behind our backs or to our faces, the jokes and
slander at our expense. he spoke from experience of growing up
Catholic in Bombay. he recalled driving with my mother across
the southern states in 1968, remembered motels with vacancies
and diners with tables that refused them. he jabbed his cigarette
into the air like a weapon—“whatever they say, they are wrong.
remember they are ignorant and idiots.”
blessed is the mother who fought for another table in her loud,
Indian, accented voice, each time we entered a restaurant. at
thirteen, I cringed and wished for invisibility. wasn’t this the local
tradition in Scottsdale when you were new in town—to seat a
family of four by the toilets. racism, discrimination, injustice were
words I learned at home, not at school, not in mixed company,
never in public.
blessed are the parents who drove us out of Marblehead the
night the cousin who shouted at me to get my “black arse out of
his father’s car,” decided to beat up my uncle. we stopped first in
church so my mother could stop crying and then in a bookstore so
she could buy the Best Public Schools on the East Coast.
blessed is the teacher in Cold Spring Harbor, who intervenes
when the white boy asks if our school is segregated, as if my
brother and I are invisible.
blessed is my best friend’s mother who takes me to my first
march at ten for disabled children in Kuwait and my second
march at nineteen for racial justice on Martin Luther King’s Day
in Washington DC.
blessed are African Americans whose time for real justice arrives,
arrives, and arrives. blessed are the activists, the essential
workers sacrificing themselves on the front lines for BLACK LIVES
blessed are the Buddhist teachers who emphasize lovingkindness
as the one-word solution to our anger and hate. our minds of
delusions are the real enemy. living beings are our mothers. these
are koans to meditate on day and night.
blessed are the friends and family who connect in a strange
summer of quarantine. all of us know someone dead of Covid-19.
all of us hunkered down, isolated in our epicenters. we share
stories to reinvent ourselves, transform like acorns and wildflower
seeds into trees and fields of golden poppies.
blessed is the inexpensive and colorful one hundred percent
cotton bandanna that workers have used throughout the ages.
blessed are the brown, Latinx, Black, white, Muslim, mixed
race and bodies of every gender on Rockaway Beach, when the
thresher shark is rescued off the jetty’s rocks. one man lifts its
tail and the other its bleeding belly. and we all clap as the shark
swims out to sea … though it will die hours later on the sand. still
hope for the first time in weeks is resurrected because strangers
collectively cheer for the life of the living being that scares us.
Water worn by sand I collect creatures
shelter diatom, fungi, sponge
wander while molting, my coat slipping off shore.
More scorpion than shell, I house waves
hold diatom and sponge
ocean washing my arthropodic structure
that wanders while molting, slipping
off shore, body become building.
I, washing ocean over such structure,
telson night, ruddering
even bodies which build offshore
their foam alive to flatworm fossil.
When my telson rudders the night
I coagulate while in-sheltering
foaming, alive to flatworm
tern skim displaced by wind
my shelter a coagulation
of water-worn creatures together
tern skim displaced by wind
I molt then slip off shore.
the end of the world is an island
land of fire
“Hey Moonbird, moonbird” at the end of the world
What do you ask of me? Soothsaying?
sing in veneration of lost city eyes, bleak
in the process of knowing tonsils thundering
One form of that life a sinister way
Beyond your ability to change & to steward
Managed retreat you’ll need a moonshot
Ever been this far from home?
night before sleep in Ushuiaia
yanking spat from restinga shelves
sustenance for enduring strangle
a shrinking migrant
A spring tide, rollicking-and-rolling
Bronzed & swooning
snap into whip formation
Under moon, ripped & gorging aminos
do yr best to concentrate on feeding
Green eating profiteering, fat birds fly faster than thin
measurement is what you concocted
Enormity catastrophe finality
unable to fathom
Here is a past lodestar empire
Managed retreat will need a
secret knowledge of the sea
who deems your inoculation
As we become them mass death seeking water
Wall of anguish you’ll add to the equator
Moonbird feels newly molted
No gaps for wind to pass through
Will you return to this beach?
over eons each sea grows bitter with continent
song guarding torrents of embankments drowned
all sons daughters of
Once I swam naked
in the Mediterranean.
In this aged body
I am too shy.
Sometimes at night I sneak out
from my Catskill retreat,
slide into the cool lake.
Neighbors can’t see me
in the dark.
As weeds tug my feet
I kick past
their tangling strands
pulling me under.
No one sees my crow’s feet
or sagging skin.
I turn on my back,
follow the moon—
My son throws me a line
but it’s his green, can I steal it?
He’s 12, says he doesn’t understand
my poems, says, they’re like
magnified by the eyes
of the earth.
“My tree,” “my sea,” “my sky,”
his first words back then
and wow, this planet,
some promise we make, huh?
Like broken microscopes
we fail to magnify god.
When my son and I fight
my face bolts—
tongue storming fast behind—
and iris open, he’ll stop,
adjust focus, condense light
into lens. Just like that.
I go off my meds.
In front of my eyes
black spots float.
It’s 3 a.m. and here’s
where I’m small.
That bald patch
in our yard never seems
to grow, airless
dirt packed tight.
Out of Sorts Rondeau
What’s in the air, what’s stalking me
that wasn’t there, until at 3,
just as the wind picked up that barn
and settled it onto another’s farm—
or did I dream this malevolency—
Admittedly, I’m out of sorts, and all this week
I’ve wanted to lash out at those who speak
as if there’s nothing—Don’t be alarmed.
It’s a gentle day, you won’t be harmed—
it’s in your mind, you’ve never been happy—
Those who know nothing say that to me?
There’s an evil out there. The air’s no balm.
Stop trying to soothe me. I won’t be calmed.
A gentle day? I won’t be harmed?
On the Pain of Growing a Wing
The secret between us is an elegy. Holding
my palms to the grey-green window
the still-leafless branches span my life line,
my line of fate, the arboreal airways of my lungs.
A dead-wind screams beyond the glass, tossing
the trees. Maybe the howl will breathe the land
clean and revive us, like the poppy-snow of Oz.
Spring starlings have not yet arrived on their waves
of murmuration. Black opal oracles with the stars
prophesied on their wings. Answers and nestled hearts
for the end of the plague, on the pain of growing a wing.
The night-pond is solitary, a nightingale singing
to the northern lights, creating a sound circle. In a dream,
my mother’s face, eyes open, silent, mute.
— Title after artwork by June Leaf
Aunt Elizabeth and Aunt Eileen
A dab of gray in the green
of that wild shrub, a catbird repeats
his cat-like mewl, bickering
with a big grackle perched above.
The grackle croaks back
then turns his purple-black head away.
I keep still, kneeling in the lilies
I meant to thin out. Quiet, quiet—
don’t want to startle them off,
can’t see the catbird now
but he’s not finished with his say.
Soon the grackle starts in again too
and I hear my great-aunts, their low
sandpapery voices echoing
in the blue kitchen, their housecoats,
in heaven. That continual back
and forth, their on and on that must
still trundle on in some eternal
morning: “Surely you will recall ….”
“Well, yes, but ….” “I suppose,
although ….” One starts, one
stops. One coughs, considers, starts
again. I’m a child looking up
from cool linoleum, until the catbird
zips off, the grackle flaps away.
Mary Ellen Pelzer
Do not stand too sternly on his rights.
He has taken care to inform himself of all the rules.
He relies on his power of observation—
to be a Good Club Member.
He knows all the rules to which he must conform,
learned how to argue good humoredly,
to be a Good Club Member.
He must take pains.
How to argue good humoredly
with every organized body?
He takes the pain—waiting
to be spoken to first by the regular members.
Organized within his body,
he observes his power when insisting on
speaking first to the regular members, saying:
Do not stand too sternly on my rights.
Borrowed text from Holt, Emily, Encyclopaedia of Etiquette:
What to Do, What to Say, What to Write, What to Wear,
A Book of Manners for Everyday Use (1912).
Dispatch I Want to Look Like Dancing
A new gift—night
rain. The morning’s
suppressed. I keep
news in my pocket.
Laughter there too.
I have just killed 99.9%
of the germs on my
hands and my fingers
could be lavender
them. Let’s wait
together and see
if we can attract bees—
my scent and your beauty.
We can pollinate.
Our singing and
I jump up and down.
sometimes I lilt from
foot to foot. sometimes
that looks like dancing]
dancing will look
like plants in the breeze.
A blood-letting tool, a vestigial claw.
A liturgical vestment, a kind of stitch or stenographical notation,
a vase, a fresh-born eel.
It’s fun now to imagine it could be any of these, but
In 1967 the right answer was “the little sheath at the end of a
Da’s nightly vocabulary quiz, home from the Galway cab-yard,
The summer before Séan and I would try for posh Saint Tim’s.
More than fifty years but I can still see it: his pressed shirt and
flocked cap, that pipe
He claimed the Mayor himself had given him. The two of us
A drop of spittle trickle the length of its lacquered stem
As he continued “… from the Old French,
Aiguille, ‘“needle’”. To point or pierce. Colloquially a small
Sarah Van Arsdale
February, 2017, Seen from April, 2020
It was Chris’ birthday
we were crowded around the table
in the new apartment—
the one we didn’t like, and didn’t keep for long—
the dining room so small
we could barely fit six
but that night we were happy
even though it was 2017,
hardly the happiest year in the history
of our country.
It was Chris’ birthday
and everyone had arrived a little late
because the A train was running slow,
and it was snowing.
I’d roasted a chicken
and some of us were drinking wine.
We’d talked about birthdays and how
quickly it all slips past
just like our parents warned us.
I was wearing a plaid shirt
and my triple strand of pearls that I’d bought
at a vintage shop on Broadway
and that fooled no one.
I’d made a coconut cake
forgetting coconut wasn’t Chris’ favorite,
but no one minded
because it was cake
and it was Chris’ birthday.
In the photo,
we’re forever leaning toward one another,
arms wrapping shoulders,
the candles guttering down,
the table strewn with dishes
the transparent wine glasses glimmering
in what’s left of the low apricot light.
This was all so ordinary—
Joanna D. Brown
I sit at our tiny, wrought-iron table on our porch
Over the railing, the rectangle of yard, lilacs nodding
Really, it is an inversion of a mask, this rectangle view
(Lips of grass, eyes of sky)
Open wide my nose, my mouth
Feed me air more precious than any cannula
On my street, people wear lilac masks on their faces
but cannot mimic the spring
The bougainvillea biker & his dogwood daughter
ease past timid cars
and the young chrysanthemum
straggles, tilts on her wheels, rights herself
blooms forth to catch up
The lilacs mutter like gloves in a rectangular box
empty fingers waving
Unlike the porch’s glossy, framed invitation
the gloves, the EKG machine and I must be covered
the curtains down
In this world already so enshadowed and ailing, the haggard, hunted
face is encountered everywhere. The problem is not the spiny microdemons
murmuring we are coming for you. It is more about your
insistence that you deserve to be spared. But if you survive, it will
be through the usual media: shrewdness, detachment, and luck.
Our laments resonate effectively among the neighbors. The
first time. But a shout is a clamor when repeated through the
days. If I scream I’ll save you, you need to hear it only once.
Today someone across the street bellowed from a porch, Is this
Thursday? And the day before, Is this Thursday? I wouldn’t call
back. But I didn’t want to be alone. And also, for some minutes, I
didn’t know the answer.
The odds are not favorable, but there is a chance, as the grave
threat recedes, that you will stop condemning your lived life
for its fecklessness and disparaging your dreams for their facile
freedoms. Restarting the world on renovated terms, you will peel
the last apple in the bin, core it, and count the seeds.
Asymptomatic: striding while sick, sick while oppressing the
healthy. They’ve been here since the first time I saw the flag in
my classroom. But I did not hear their voices clearly until my own
body appeared in their sights.
News item, page 6: Eleven Die as Locusts Swarm in Sudan. In
the village of Wad Medani, 110 miles southeast of Khartoum,
the elders argue into the night. Some say the locusts gave off an
overpowering smell, causing asthma. Some say the weak and
aged ones, now the dead, simply imagined they couldn’t breathe.
Some say the deafening clack of wings, the thickness of sound,
choked off life.
One says, “I have a real person hiding under the personality you
know. It’s my secret self and it’s the best part of me.” The other
one says, “I’m the space between what I am and what I am not,
the space between what I dream and what life makes of me.” The
two of them, socially distanced by six feet. And then some.
No one is available to guide you to the exit, and if you should
manage to grope your way there, no one will be waiting on the
other side to greet you with an antidote.
In March, while the news arrived from across the sea, there
was a silent rupture in our city. The clock in its tower skipped
a beat, the tower sunk imperceptibly. You had an opportunity,
but you savagely refused to renounce the unlocatable source of
your values. Every street corner was begging for love, all of our
uncountable differences were asking for asylum. You said We
need cleansers and chocolate.
Every day at a quarter to four, the hospital orderly walks by on his
way to the hospital and the all-night Covid rounds. Green scrubs,
supper in a backpack. We stand at the window, waiting. Here he
comes, today he’s wearing his Celtics jacket as well. The night is a
long guess about the route he takes home. The next day—a vigil.
It was only a matter of welcoming the pandemic, exploiting it as
a pier to push off from to a mythical journey among whirlpools,
enticing islands, and beasts. A journey, like all others, ignorant
of what is at stake, abandoned to chance. We could have sailed
together. We could have shared our provisions to the very last
sardine and crawled up on the sand. A crew of survivors for the
ages, singing a sea shanty that we made up, each of us the author
of a verse.
Kay L. Cook
The Loss of Back to Normal
Something is happening,
as promises dislodge from our mourning
where lines have been crossed
and signed and torn at the perforation
where normal was color-coded
Back to normal is in constant
change, tired from breathing
Where will I put my knick-knack normal
which I now fit neatly
in photos and boxes and plastic bins,
as I wake up in this never
back to normal? Will I ever again clink glasses filled with ice
floes melting, time-lapsing,
sans metronome, Earth rotating with axis ajar
throbbing off key?
Will different always mean violence?
Will never again ever be enough?
Patricia Spears Jones
The face of
a Black woman, no matter the popular myth, is at a loss.
Back in the Minstrel Show era, Mammy was easy.
Sang lullabies, rolled my eyes, rolled my hips, made
Some money. At least I was cleaning no white folks
Houses. Then some diner had a cook who made flap
jacks, dressed her up as mammy and the white folks
Loved it. Loved it. Next thing, mammy mass produced
Round face, big teeth, apron and bandana––and
jokes about me and Uncle Ben—you know we
Did not know each other. But there was I the only
Black woman on the supermarket shelves, smiling
for a few dollars. Then the people who hated
Amos and Andy and other benign stereotypes
Decided to hate me. Aunt Jemima. What did I
Do but smile, wear that bandana and sell maternal
Love for any who bought it. Why mammy figures
are in homes across America—white homes, mostly
And those Avant Garde Black people
Who collect Black Memorabilia—the stuff tossed
In the trash by so many, but these Avant Garde
People wanted to see how many ways dark skinned people
Could be made for commercial use. They. Learned. Outrage.
All those watermelons, wood piles, and aprons.
The Gold Dust Twins, so named because there was no gold or
The Black Black Memorabilia people helped
make Aunt Jemima a research project & mammy history.
Thus, Betye Saar put a rifle in Mammy’s hands.
Mammy as revolutionary, dug that so much, but
was just too much for the business angle. Mammy
got a makeover. Image change at Company decreed.
Gone bandana, apron and at least 50 pounds,
Even the box shrank back to when
Black imagery could be made for a nickel and
sold for a dime many times, many times.
Hidden in attics & storage units & garages across the South,
Mammy dolls sit near Southern Belles & Confederate Colonels
And other ancient symbols of the world of Lost Causes.
The Minstrel Shows; the Corporate Icon; the Demised Image.
Oh that desire for the power of mammy––that large breasted,
Ever-smiling Colored Lady come to console
All within the White House, the Whites’ houses.
Mammy in the movies.
Mammy on tv.
on that precipice of desire and ridicule—
Her smile ready to wipe away any negativity
Any thought of brand dissonance—the ultimate
Myth of Reconciliation, why hate her. Now
even Oscar Winning Mammy can’t claim cable.
Nodding comprehension for this ungainly insult
by the blonde teen, who says “Aunt Jemima was cancelled”
How could this be—Aunt Jemima was freed from slavery
And worked her way into becoming the face of a pancake mix.
Just what every Black woman wants to be,
The face of a pancake mix.
May 4, 2020: Coronavirus Report
We inch closer to lockdown’s end,
inch toward a line where the new
normal resides, wherever that is,
as it moves through days of light
and shadow, infections rise or abate,
rise or abate, and the line’s re-drawn.
Lilacs don’t know this, their purple
clusters shamelessly luxurious, more
adventurous for having no gardener
tend them as they overhang the gate
and disperse their petals into the street,
where joggers stop, take off their masks,
and sniff memories so fresh, so remote,
they might as well come from another life.
Wed., June 10
At the televised memorial for George Floyd, a pastor
calls out to a member of his choir:
“Lorraine, take us to the Valley.”
Lorraine brings it.
Mon., June 12
Some Summer Reading for the Pandemic:
Poe. “The Masque of the Red Death”
Hawthorne. “Lady Eleanore’s Mantle”
(1721-22 Boston smallpox epidemic)
Ben Jonson. “On his Son” (1603)
DeFoe. Journal of the Plague Year
DeFoe. Robinson Crusoe (on social isolation)
Edith Wharton. “Roman Fever”
Henry James. Daisy Miller
Albert Camus. The Plague
For the ambitious:
Boccaccio. The Decameron
Mon., July 6 at 4 p.m.
Worse than the corona virus, a neighbor assures me as we run
into each other
in the condo garage, are “the looting, the violence and Marxism.”
I stay silent behind my mask. She wears none even though she
is a nurse.
Mon., July 6 at 5 p.m.
At Rockefeller Center
Prometheus and Atlas
Remembering that Death is a lagging indicator,
I’m busy making place cards for the Communion of Souls.
The most beautiful thing about a convertible is hair, and the most
beautiful thing about hair is its disposition, dead, but alive in the
skin in the air, the skin holding on to each strand for dear life, alive in
the wind. The most beautiful thing about the wind passing over the
skin is sensation, cellular, invisible, metabolic. What is metabolic is
life-sustaining, and the most life-sustaining thing I can think of today
is decency. And decency is blind, unseen, until it isn’t.
One More Thing to Worry About
that earth’s magnetic
field is weakening.
This will make
space travel far
No doubt I say. No fucking
MARLENA MADURO BARAF’s poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from
The Ekphrastic Review and On the Seawall. She is author of the memoir At the
Narrow Waist of the World and lives in White Plains, NY.
CARMEN BARDEGUEZ-BROWNis the author of Dreaming Rhythms: Despertando
Silencios (Pandora Lobo Estepario Productions, 2015). During the pandemic, she’s
living in Chiangmai, Thailand.
PATRICIA J. BARNETT’s poems have been published in Prairie Schooner, New York
Quarterly and others, and set to music (Awilda Villarini, 1991).
CURTIS BAUER’s third collection of poems is American Selfie (Barrow Street Press,
2019). He lives in Lubbock, TX. | curtisbauer.net; IG:@ curtis.bauer
M.C. BOLSTER’s poem “Haibun: Pittsburgh” appears in 2 Horatio No. 2. She lives in
New York City. | FB: marycatherine.bolster
JAMES BRASFIELD’s third collection of poems, Cove (LSU Press), is expected to
appear in 2022. He lives in Belfast, ME.
MICHAEL BRODERis the author of This Life Now (A Midsummer Night’s Press,
2014), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for gay poetry. He lives in Bed-stuy,
Brooklyn, NY. | TW: @MichaelBroder; IG: @michaelbroder
JOANNA D. BROWN’s poems have appeared most recently in the online
magazines Gertrude and eclectica. She lives in Providence, RI.
MARION BROWNis the author of two chapbooks of poetry, most recently
The Morning After Summer (Finishing Line Press, 2015). She lives in Yonkers, NY.
TERRY CASTLE (cover artist) is a writer, critic, scholar at Stanford University. Her
most recent book is The Professor (Harper Collins, 2010), finalist for the National
Book Critics Circle Award. | terrycastle.com; IG: @chateauthierry.
THERESA BURNS is the author of a chapbook of poems, Two Train Town (Finishing
Line Press, 2017). She lives in South Orange, NJ. | theresaburns.org
LINDA HILLMAN CHAYES’ chapbook of poems is The Lapse (Finishing Line Press,
2014). She lives in Scarsdale, New York. | Lindaehillman@gmail.com
JOAN CAPPELLO’s chapbook of poems is why i travel alone (Finishing Line Press,
2019). She lives in Long Island City, NY. | FB: joan.cappello.50
KAY L. COOK’s poems have recently appeared in Wild Roof Journal and The Write
Launch. She lives in New York City.
PETER COVINO’s most recent collection is The Right Place to Jump (New Issues
Press, 2012). He lives in Providence, RI. | petercovino.com
RUTH DANON’s most recent book is WORD HAS IT (Nirala Publications, 2018). She
lives in the Hudson Valley. | ruthdanon.com
RENÉE CHRISTINE EHLE’s poems have recently appeared in Gyroscope Review,
Carve Magazine, and Common Ground Review. She lives in the Bronx, NY.
BONNIE JILL EMANUEL’s poems have recently appeared in American Poetry
Review and Mid-American Review. She lives in New York. | bonniejillemanuel.com
JENNIFER FRANKLIN’s most recent collection is No Small Gift (Four Way Books,
2018). She is the Program Director of the Hudson Valley Writers Center and lives in
New York City. | jenniferfranklinpoet.com; TW/IG: @JFranklinPoetry
MINDY GILL’s poems have recently appeared in Australian Poetry Journal and the
Institute of Modern Art (AU). She lives in Brisbane, AU. | mindygill.com
JULIO CÉSAR PAZ GONZÁLEZis the author of Lo que aprendí al otro lado del
mundo (2020). He currently lives in Hanoi, Vietnam. | jcpaz.tilda.ws
JESSICA GREENBAUM’s recent book of poems, Spilled and Gone, came
out from University of Pittsburgh Press in 2019. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
DAVID GROFFis the author of Clay (Trio House Press, 2013). He lives in New York
City. | davidgroff.com
MYRONN HARDY’s most recent collection of poems is Radioactive Starlings
(Princeton University Press, 2017). He lives in Maine. | myronnhardy.com
KATHERINE HARRIS’ prose “Lift to the Sun” appeared in North Salem Review:
Prose and Poetry Volume 1, (2011). She lives in Holmes, NY.
PAMELA HART is the author of Mothers Over Nangarhar, winner of the 2017
Kathyrn A. Morton Prize (Sarabande Books, 2019). She lives in North Salem, NY.
pamelahartpoet.com, TW: @PamelaHart5
SCOTT HIGHTOWERis the author of four books of poetry in the U.S. and two
bilingual (English/Spanish) collections published in Madrid. His last in the U.S. was
Self-evident. He lives in Manhattan, NY. | scotthightower.com
RICK HILLES’ most recent book of poetry is A Map of the Lost World (Pitt Poetry
Series, 2012), and he is currently working on two more books, The Empathy
Machine and The Invisible Thread. He lives in Nashville, TN.
PAOLO JAVIER’s fifth book, O.B.B., a full-length comics poem, is forthcoming
from Nightboat Books in spring 2021. He lives with his family in the unceded
territory of the Rockaway, Canarsie, and Matinecock peoples, otherwise known as
Queens County, New York City. “Moonbird Moonbird” appears in Sean Hanley’s
documentary The Whelming Sea (2020). | nightboat.org/bio/paolo-javier
PATRICIA SPEARS JONES’ fourth collection of poems is A Lucent Fire: New &
Selected Poems (White Pine Press Distinguished Poetry Series, 2015). She lives in
New York City. | psjones.com
MICHELE KARAS’ poems have most recently appeared in The Northern Virginia
Review, Mid-American Review, and Pretty Owl Poetry. She lives in Canaan, NY.
DANIEL LAWLESS’ recent collection of poems is The Gun My Sister Killed
Herself With (Salmon Poetry Press, 2018). He lives in St. Petersburg, FL.
DENTON LOVING’s first collection of poems is Crimes Against Birds (Main
Street Rag Publishing Company, 2015). He lives near Cumberland Gap, TN.
MAJA LUKIC’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Prelude,
Salamander, RHINO, Poetry Northwest, Sugar House Review, Vinyl, and other
journals. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. | majalukic.com; TW: @majalukic113
MAYA MAHMUD’s poems have appeared in Frontier Poetry and Brio Literary
Journal, which also published her visual art. She lives in Crown Heights,
Brooklyn, NY. | FB: maya.amina.mahmud; IG: @lawful_chaos
SEBASTIAN MATTHEWS lives with his family in Asheville, NC. Beyond Repair:
Living in a Fractured State comes out in August 2020 from Red Hen Press.
MARILYN MAZUR lives in New York City, but she has been in Vermont since the
onset of the pandemic. Her work has appeared in Verse/Virtual (online), Five Poets
& Their Poems (The New York Society Library), 2 Horatio, and Palo de Arco.
KAYE McDONOUGH’s most recent book is Pagan: Selected Poems, (New Native
Press, 2014). She lives in Branford, CT. | citylights.com/info/?fa=event&event_
JENNIFER STEWART MILLER’s second collection is the chapbook The Strangers
Burial Ground (Seven Kitchens Press, 2020). She currently lives in Orleans, MA.
ROGER MITCHELL’s most recent book is Reason’s Dream (Dos Madres Press,
2018). He lives in Jay, NY.
JANE WALLACE PEARSON’s poem “Doggerel” will appear in an upcoming issue of
Light Poetry Magazine. She lives in Ledyard, CT.
MARY ELLEN PELZER’s work has appeared in Intersections International, on
itscomplicated.vet, and Seaport Magazine. She lives in New York City.
TW: @maryellenpelzer; IG: @marypelzer
JOANNE PROULX’s debut novel, Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet, won Canada’s
Sunburst Award, and her sophomore novel, We All Love the Beautiful Girls, was
one of The Globe and Mail’s Best 100 Books for 2017. She lives in Ottawa, Canada.
CASSIE PRUYN is the author of Lena (Texas Tech University Press, 2017), winner
of the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry. She lives in Portland, ME.
SHEILA RABINOWITCH’s poems have appeared in previous issues of 2 Horatio.
She lives in New York City.
MARTHA RHODES is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently The
Thin Wall (Pitt Poetry Series, 2017). She lives in New York City.
FRANCES RICHEY’s second collection of poems is The Warrior (Viking Penguin,
2008). She lives in New York City. | francesrichey.com
AMELIA ROSS hasn’t been published since college. She’s excited to be included in
2 Horatio. She lives in Bronxville, NY. | LinkedIn: rossamelia
JASON SCHNEIDERMAN’s fourth collection of poetry is Hold Me Tight (Red Hen
Press, 2020). He lives in Brooklyn, NY. | jasonschneiderman.net
ELAINE SEXTON’s third book of poems is Prospect/Refuge (Sheep Meadow
Press, 2015). She lives in New York City and East Marion, NY. | elainesexton.org;
NEIL SHEPARD’s most recent book is How It Is: Selected Poems (Salmon Poetry,
2018) He lives in Johnson, VT. | neilxshepard.com
SEAN SINGER’s most recent book is Honey & Smoke (Eyewear, 2015). His collection
Today in the Taxi is forthcoming from Tupelo Press. He lives in Ossining, NY.
RON SLATE is the editor of On The Seawall: A Community Gallery of New Writing
& Commentary (www.ronslate.com). His most recent poetry collection is The Great
Wave (Houghton Mifflin). He lives in Aquinnah, MA.
AARON SMITH is the author of four books, most recently The Book of Daniel (Pitt
Poetry Series, 2019). He lives in Massachusetts, but during the pandemic has been
living in West Virginia. | LitAppetite.com
SHERRY STUART-BERMAN is a psychotherapist. Her poems have appeared in
journals such as Guesthouse, The Night Heron Barks, Rise Up Review, and 2 Horatio.
She lives in Staten Island, NY with her husband and son.
MATTHEW THORBURN’s latest book of poems is The Grace of Distance (LSU Press,
2019). He lives in Kingston, NJ. | IG: @thorburnpoet
MICHELLE YASMINE VALLADARES is the author of Nortada, The North Wind
(Global City Press). She lives in Brooklyn, NY. | michelleyasminevalladares.com
SARAH VAN ARSDALE’s most recent book is a single narrative poem, The
Catamount (Nomadic Press, 2017). She lives in New York City and Medusa, NY.