By Carol Stockton







































andyougetupandwalkoutandrunbacktotheemptyhousealwayshauntedbythosemetwhileyouweredecidingwhoyouwerelivingmostlyamongthestarsdreamingnightrealdaythinkingifhetakesoffallthegarmentseveryselfabsorbedshredthatcoveramyprivatesufferingeventheweightofblendedmemorieswillnotprotectmewhenistandjudgednakedbetweenthefrescoedheavenandhelliwaswrongaboutcapturedaloneinmyexistentialconnectednakedness



Carol Stockton is a photographer, art quilt creator, in-door gardener, survivor of three different cancers, happy writer.


Art by Carol Stockton.

By Sarah Twombly

Don’t worry, I say to my screen, where Zoom has frozen my colleagues into solid, black cubes, but to whom I am speaking anyway, because I am not late, I made it, I am here, just barely here, or maybe here, but not completely; a semblance of parts are here, for instance my right-forefinger and the crook of my knee are here, while my tiptoes are outside doing their best not to topple while stringing up the Christmas lights, and my lap is downstairs on the couch, overfull of children who are, like me, home and not home, here and there—and somedays neither here nor there—and my heart is in my chest, locked in place by my breastbone—I feel it beating—but my vasculature has sprung a leak or been mis-plumbed, because my blood, instead of flowing to my right-forefinger or my big toe, is flowing to Nora’s father who, yesterday, was admitted to the isolation ward in Jordan, and my oxygen is circulating through Jodi’s daughter, contact-traced just this morning and now quarantined; my breath is caught in the naked fingers of the beech trees outside, struggling to rise, to fall, to flow; my guilt is downstairs, abandoned with the groceries on the counter—boxes like sentries, announcing my neglect; and my fear—my precious fear—is trapped across the street with my neighbor who is speaking, again, of stolen elections and the plight of women under progressive regimes, how girls will be forced to go without make-up and to wear pants—dear god, my fear says, not pants! anything but pants—while the meteorologist is whispering to my ears, which have been attached to the radio for days and days, that the weather will be warm again today; seasonably, unseasonably, who can say: my temperature regulation has been stranded in Tonga, where foreigners have not been allowed in or out since March; March, my hair is still in March, a heap of, it deserted on the bathroom floor, after my husband drew the scissors closed and promised, “I got this."



Sarah Twombly’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Prairie Schooner, Esquire Magazine, and Scary Mommy, among others; she lives in Bangor, Maine.


"Before and After," mixed media by Jodi Paloni.

By Matthew Medendorp

You live in the land of milk and honey, kid, hunny hunny hunny I say to you shush shush shush your crying hush hush hush your wailing, wave after wave after wave you bind you wallow you wail again you scratch your eyes out of the sackcloth that binds your feet in the mornings, you blink blink blink against the coming dawn or sometimes son you root root root for a lullaby, you stretch, you want the womb again, you don’t want to crawl into the light, you want to find your small cozy cave and curl back to sleep sleep sleep for a while; child, can’t you see this is the promised land?



Matthew Medendorp is a poet, essayist, and an MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University with work in HAD, Up North Lit, and the Boardman Review; he spends his spare time washing boats in a warehouse without heating or cooling and posting the occasional 35mm photograph to his website: mattmedendorp.com.


Art by Nick Botka.

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