At Home

By Lois Dale Villemaire

Spending more time inside
than ever.
Restoring safe spaces.
Painting, modernizing, repairing,
Tools, paint brushes, construction projects.
Purging, organizing,
Putting everything in its place.
Weeding out the unnecessary and outdated.
Donating, trashing, recycling.
Comfy chairs, mega-sized tv, electronics.
Like squirrels,
gathering and storing items
that may become hard to find.
Music, art, books, series on Prime or Netflix.
Savoring favorite foods.
All this, to compensate
for the chaos, discord,
and uncertainty in the world
outside our doors,
beyond our windows.
Unexpected weather,
fires, floods, hurricanes.
We are seeking and needing tranquility,
protection and security
At home.


“I write for the challenge of describing experiences.” – the writer

Solitary

By Nancy Elliott

No more lingering in the church hall after service. No more long afternoons of chitchat and laughter while she worked on quilts with the other ladies. No more book club, no more volunteer time at the hospital.

And Zoom meetings just weren’t cutting it.

She looked wistfully out the window, missing community. She missed the hugs, the shared moments, the warmth of others near.

The big old tabby cat jumped up and settled into her lap. She stroked his fur, feeling the rumble of his purr. Her heart filled with gratitude for the lone tender, loving friend she could touch.


Nancy Elliott walks, runs, hikes, looks up at the stars, dreams, loves, wonders, explores, and then words tumble out.

Depression

By Megha Nayar

I have 102 degrees of cabin fever. It happens whenever I marinate in could-haves and should-haves for too long.

Do little things, says my therapist. Take a bath. Make your bed. Walk. Call a friend.

Easy for her to sing that song.

I’ve lain here for hours now. I last drank water in the morning. My armpits reek of yesterday’s sweat. My scalp has sprouted little balls of sebum that I scratch and weed out when I’m bored.

This can’t go on.

Out I jump, as suddenly as I’d slumped.

I step away from the brink, into the shower.


“I write because it is the only kind of validation I know.” – the writer

It Isn’t Normal

By Bruce Levine

The new normal
which isn’t normal
The perpetrators of the myth
who propagate the idea
True believers of the hyperbole
lulled into apathy
And the apathetic don’t care
as long as they can follow the herd
Believing that there is
a new normal
Refraining from thinking
as they sink into depression
And the new normal is the
isolation of fear
Manifesting the new reality
of loneliness and suicide


“I had to write this because this is what I see all around me.” – the writer

All The Concerts Are Canceled

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Image submitted by author.

By Sarah Grady

Been jogging, to scratch an itch, a footfall with each drumbeat in the headphones. I run because I don’t dance lately. Running is a weak substitute, too stern for my tastes. I still itch.

I need a roomful of people, united, bodies pulsing with inertia, respiration entwined with rhythm. I miss looking around at joyful faces, delighted cheers, enraptured movements. I miss the closed eyes. I miss the sweat on the performers.

When I run, the sun often shines in my eyes. It is together in the darkness that we find momentum.

               
Sarah Grady writes “to spend time with ideas that shape a person and her life.”

My Opinion

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By Dianne Moritz

Our teachers have a daunting task
insuring students wear a mask.
And when some kids should throw a fit?
They’ll invade spaces, hit, and spit.
Then, as those germs spew in the air,
fears will increase there, everywhere.
So folks, be smart. Don’t play the fool.
Please keep your children out of school …
safely at home, healthy, secure,
til we acquire a covid cure.

              
“Sometimes I just have to express my opinions.” – the writer

Italians Save Their Citizens

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By Mare Leonard

It’s ironic that the country my ancestors fled because of poverty conquered the virus while it spreads like wildfire here because of the poverty of federal leadership.

Two years ago, my son secured Italian citizenship for our entire family because Papa Nicola worked without papers until 1928. He was called a WOP here and in Italy Terrone, dirt.

Today, Italy would not welcome my family into the country, probably calling us Stupid Americans. Yesterday, I read that the Italian Prime Minister said, “The health of the people comes first and will always be first.”

              
Mare Leonard writes, “to get through both day and the night.”

Modern Day Greetings

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By Julie van Amerongen

Hug, handshake or high five. A few months ago, I would size up a situation when meeting someone and decide among the appropriate options.

Then came elbow bumps, foot taps and the invention of cuddle curtains.

Now choices include nod, smize (smile with your eyes), namasté (not just for yoga!), or wrap your arms around your shoulders like you are giving yourself a hug but pretend it’s for and from the other person.

Another possibility includes saying “this is so awkward,” then standing around sheepishly like we don’t know what to do in the bodies we occupy … because we don’t.

           
“I write because the words come out of my fingers better than they do out of my mouth.” – the writer

Drowning

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By Adam Wan

Days pass — doors closed, the world unchanging, time itself still; and I feel myself spiral. Time ticks, day then night, yet they only feel like a breath from some distant land, as I stand here upon this isolated promontory — feeling myself chip away, bit by bit, as if I were sand and the wind’s blowing my way; sweeping bits of me off like dust into the distance behind me. Falling, I am drowning alone in faceless pages and nameless works — as the world outside sits quiet, the pandemic running through the shadows like some haunted creature; hunting, preying, killing …

              
“I write to share with the world my heart, hoping for it to touch someone else’s.” – the writer

Taproom Memories

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By mickbloor3

Let me recall the names, ringing down the fifty years – The Sherwood Forester, The Dolphin, The Old Bell Hotel, The Seven Stars, The Noah’s Ark, The Fountain (aka The Squirt), The Dutch Mill, The Kirkgate Bar, The Prince of Wales, The Perth Arms, Hastie’s Hotel, The Blue Lamp, The Drumtochty Arms, The Marine Hotel, The Ramsay Arms, The Hen and Chicks, The Crown, The Pen and Wig, The King of Prussia, The Queen’s Head, No.2 Baker Street, The Tappit Hen … A young man’s litany; an old man’s folly.

How many still stand? How many will the virus sweep away?

               
Michael Bloor is a retired sociologist, living in Dunblane, Scotland, who has lately “discovered the exhilarations of short fiction.”