Rituals 2021

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This is a special Domesticated Primate & Anomaly Poetry Summer Solstice 2021 publication. All works Copyright © 2021 by the individual artists.

This collection Copyright © 2021 by Domesticated Primate Cover Art by: Andrew Tedesco

READ MORE, YOU TROGLODYTE! This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imaginations or are used factiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. So, chill out fool. Contact the publisher: nick@domesticatedprimate.com


Rituals A Collection of Poetry.


Turtle Love or Exuberance is Beauty By Mary Beth Yarmac The doll carriage, pink and wobbly, The turtle closed tight and scared Two small girls parading carefully, flowing Up the street, pushing the carriage. I watch, wondering. Is it love? Is it practice? Does it matter? Just two small girls and a wounded turtle. The Parade passes. I imagine these girls grown. Taking care, proudly promenading Something, what? Life itself perhaps. They may hold this day in their hearts. When they learned to love a turtle. How to take care of a wounded creature. Hope fills our souls.


Volley by Anne Vincent Becker irresistible upturn of one slab reveals countless crustaceans

élan and resipiscence surge through cerebral serving of consciousness seemingly simultaneous slippage of phrenic feast and fulsome dearth tops a synapse plate sprouting a pale blonde plait that dangles above peeling pelagic pleats home-wrecked wet earth cheekily asks four-limbed cored folly (tactile handed, stringy headed colonialist)

does curiosity or self preservation outvie the intramural foe? pre and post watery stroll is the ruddy cooked chitin in the pot more crimson than the red from the pinched plantar? we’d go on a limb (any will do) to say not


Here in the Morning by David Mello Facing the world with pockets full of nothing. I stood at the corner of lost and lonely. With a strong will to survive I searched for love and belonging. Hoping for the day the sun would shine and I would hear the bluebird sing. There was a time when I considered myself a religious man. Bound by the confines of an organized faith. Today I am liberated and look aloft to a Universal Spirit. Connected to nature and the seldom found goodness of my fellow man. Making my way I saw a raven perched on top of a gravestone cross. It was such a grey and solemn place. I stood there and thought about life and how in the end we all turn to dust. So I closed my eyes knowing I’ll be here in the morning.


“Teal Waves” by Catherine Carter. Acrylic on paper, collaged on board. 2017.


Strawberry Shortcake by Bette Low Summer fresh Strawberry shortcake Tender crumbling cake Spill of glistening berries Mounds of whipped cream Taste it! Sublime, perfection. Except, look closeThat berry holds half a worm You never know when you are eating a worm. Life is like that too. It can still be sublime, If you accept the worm.


star talk by K.R. Seward sun’s gone off this shore a while however high it shines so day comes to day always through a night some rain some light is it low drizzle gray that wants this dreary rhyming

some meme quotes Anne Sexton about June coming and a weariness toward being brave waiting out any cicada that’ll climb August tree to call waiting out the heat and open windows and droning fans then cold and thicker clothes

then spring and green all over again


K.R. Seward

one posits that the longer folks live the lesser that portion of a life is a day or a season or a year a slimmer slice of gain against the hard shoe dropping and so again sun not quite hiding ever higher in unseen sky that light is all we have and what light has grown old trees into coal crushed floaters into oil warmed air rise draws wind sea mist and inland evaporate gone skyward into rain now upshed falling and obscuring high sun


“Girl From New Bedford”, Kayla Conner. Watercolor and ink on paper. 2021.


On A Dream by Stephen Norton Fall into the water A puddle, a mile to go Sinking ever faster Time passing slow A sea of eccentricity Of Uncertainty Apprehension eased Approaching bottom The surface to a world forgotten A stone staircase compels you Descend Every floor, a door to what could be What could have been Every possibility Looking out on a relationship that never was The dog you never had The skill you never learned Or an unforseen fad Homeless


Stephen Norton

A billionaire Hopeless Despair A family Alone An artist An accountant A scientist Or a poet Ascend Swim Break the surface Wake up


What Will You Keep of Me? By Sarah Jane Mulvey We begin to quarantine, and I work from a desk That was once owned by Bruce Collins who scratched his name into the cherrywood, in 1944. As did Alice Hillman, in 1877. I consider where I will leave my name, in the year 2020. My new home brims with memories of people who will never see the inside of it. The stately brass whalemen of my grandfather’s library My grandmother’s Christmas Cactus blooming well into spring. The turntable and records that once filled my Uncle’s bedroom with sweet sounds. I wear Great Aunt Lillian’s scarab bracelet to family functions As if to call her in to watch us play as she always did, from the living room recliner. I adopt every similar piece I find in antique shops unable to bear the thought of leaving someone else’s great aunt strewn across felted, dust-laden pillows.

What will they keep of me, The children of our uncertain future? My dilapidated, chicken-scratched notebooks? The blue Murano glass bracelet and earrings from Venice? I like to imagine my emerald rings Adorning the fingers and necks Of nieces and nephews, Calling me in to share with them The brightness of their future. The joy of their growing multitudes.


Finally Home by Gregory Fino So where have you been, you're lost in your mind The hot desert sand, now frozen in time It's time to come home, just find your way there For in love and war, for all is not fair

Now give me your hand, now show me the way You have bled your pain, it's the price we pay You have paid your dues, and you did atone You're no more in war, no longer alone It's behind you now, it's part of your past Now fifteen long years, those years not gone fast For now when you rest, you dream of Iraq For now when you sleep, you always go back So honor your dead, to keep them alive Until Valhalla, until you arrive But until then, your war is no more And you are now home, you're done with your tour For now you are changed, you're changed as a man For now you'll accept, your God's master plan The years you would hide, so lost in your head The years you would cry, you wished you were dead


Gregory Fino

Your eyes opened wide, for my time did come For once more I walk, and no more I run For my war is done, at home and away I rise from my knees, for I'm not afraid So out of the dark, and into the light It's now time to live, it's not time to fight But never forget, all those who did fall For all did give some, and some did give all.

“Memorial Day” by Pat St. Pierre


“Moldavite” by Jessika Lazala. Acrylic on canvas. 2021.


Sea Glass By Vicky Wood So clear that you can see through Sparkling, crisp, refreshing, and new Standing on the kitchen table Tall and strong and feeling stable A careless hand comes far too near With no control I brace with fear I fall; I shatter, pieces on the floor She makes her way to the closet door She gets the broom, and I’m feeling tense I don’t know where I’m going, but I get the sense It isn’t sparkling, crisp, refreshing, or new Like my insides were before I met my doom There’s things unwanted all around me I contemplate the mess I’m in; how could this be? And just as I began accepting my fate My surroundings began trembling at an alarming rate

Dark, damp, bumpy, and old She carries my prison out into the cold But the cheap plastic shell could not contain The sharp edges I had formed from all the pain Once again all my pieces are strewn about But this time there’s no broom, and my mind fills with doubt Will I ever feel sparkling, crisp, refreshing, or new? I miss the good ol’ days, when that all seemed true A downpour begins; I must flow with the rain The water flows down the street, right into the drain IT’S DARK AND I’M LOST AND EVERYTHING IS WET I’M STILL SO YOUNG; I HAVEN’T REALLY LIVED YET


Vicky Wood

Feeling sorry for myself it took me time to realize There’s a way out of the drain, through the water there’s blue skies That must be the ocean; I can’t believe it’s true! The water looks sparkling, crisp, refreshing, and new! ...but soon I discovered all the salt, rocks, and sand When the waves get rough, things tend to get out of hand This ocean is wavering and wide and ever-so vast All of the uncertainty makes me question my past Enveloped in the waves, I don’t know up from down Pummeled by rocks, slammed into the ground I’ve collected some scratches throughout my stay down here My body, in pieces, is no longer clear The storm subsides, and I’m not sure where I could be All I know, is that I am no longer in the sea I brace for familiar despair when my world turns upside down Except this time I’m not in a wave, and I know that’s not a frown She turns me right side up, and now I can see The curious girl that picked me up; she was smiling right at me With bright white teeth and admiration in her eyes She looked as if she had just won the ultimate grand prize You can no longer see through, but I still feel strong I have learned that the abrasion has strengthened me all along With pain comes growth, and after all this distance I’ve roamed I’m whole as I am, and this is my home


Washcloths and Bad Manners by Patricia Gomes I see you on the coverlet as you last lay: confident in your nakedness, uppity as you gauged my response. The bedsprings banshee-wailed our charged climax; my foot overturned the bedside chair, causing your downstairs neighbor to broom-handle rap on his ceiling. Jealous, you said. Envious of our lusty habits. We laughed, inhaling the burnt onions and cabbage mixture creeping up through the drafty floorboards. The dish spelled Miserable Bachelor for all to read. Serves him right. You stroked my shoulder then, using just one finger, and I stayed way past bus schedules and common sense. When I finally left, I walked through the early morning ground fog of May with the flavor of you still on my lips.


“A Vestige of Innocence”, photography by Royal T Hair & Visuals, model: Julia Massicotte, collaboration with poet Sam Matteson


A Vestige Of Innocence by Samuel Matteson The clock is always running It’s a reliable machine It cries out of the hour marking waste that’s so obscene my body is quite different from a reliable machine & yet it’s always running as a clock not so serene I follow hands that guide me as some machines will do but a clock is not a compass and cannot aid my view must I toil endlessly my bearings are not gemstone & the oil that’s within me is finite and corporeal


“A Vestige of Innocence”, photography by Royal T Hair & Visuals, model: Julia Massicotte, collaboration with poet Sam Matteson


A Vestige Of Innocence by Samuel Matteson I took a hard stance and journeyed to the front I took up arms so fast I never could lament Until it was I died that the mystery untied I served several nations And then I died unwed I served a hungry giant for a lonely braided bed I never did submit To the powers put upon me yet it felt like I was grieving For every day that I lived On this earth


Take With Food by Andrew Tedesco What if Nostalgia Memories Could be packed up Gelled up Capsuled made external to become Internal Again?

Would you take them? To relive those moments If they could be extracte fed back to you. Hopefully with 4K clarity. Would you go back to a time before they were gone Before you were wrong Before you said that thing you said That regret That burden all that’s left in our heads.

Biomechanics processes of playing back and forth Analyzing Paralyzing


Andrew Tedesco

Not even sure if the playback is accurate That the magnetic tape is worn from the constant play and rewinding getting jammed So would you take them? Prescribed With food 6 ounces of water before bed.


Barber Shopping by Phillip J. Mellen This haircut suits my lifestyle All my shoes are painting shoes This is the way Until she comes back Then I will grow my hair a bit And trim my beard I will have date night shoes again God is in the details, as they say.

“Beards” by Phillip J. Mellen, digital painting.


Rituals by Sampson The Poet Nothing of what I did before Normal’s not the same as they were Thrown out like the trash Let us rebuild ourselves A version that will last A reflection that smiles A healthy style A new love that runs a more efficient mile These leaders are vile All this just a trial Sadness to fill the Nile Now’s the time to meet your best They've been waiting a while Put your hearts first Fears last Fueled by the past Being present A new productive gas Time to put your love first Positive results will be vast All love from me Turned on full blast


Homo Sapien Sapien by Stephen Norton Poaceae trimmed, visual satisfaction complete Motor vehicle luxurious, lifestyle achieved Education is priority Knowledge is money Smart men are debtors Living life on lease Remove the trees Free shelter begets leech One dollar, great sale Italian man on label Authentic, it's real

Machine pressed chicken Premium precision cut waffles Dark Blue Blueberries, no gradiation The finest logos Genuine leather Hydration in plastic Disposable weather Conform, reshape, reform Mold me into a man Visually appealing and warm Welcoming, lovely, and normal


Notes to My Teenaged Self on Boys, Dating, Sex, Men and Love By Tracey Saloman I. Boys They will not be truly interesting until their 20's, and maybe not even then

When they do dumb shit to impress you, rolling your eyes only makes it worse. The less interested you are, the harder they try. (Be wary of your best friend's crush.) They always want to go "all the way" even if they have no clue how to get there. Being "one of the guys" does not make you a guy, and they never forget that. II. Dating Your first boyfriend should not be the guy who cheated on his girlfriend with you, even if you were together for two years. Flowers on your homeroom desk, notes in your locker, and holding hands in hallways should always be appreciated. If you're always driving him around, get gas money. Nobody rides for free. If he doesn’t call you his girlfriend in front of his friends, you're not. Cut cheaters loose. You already knew this could happen.


Tracey Saloman

III. Sex You're going to give it up sometime so be smart and use condoms. It doesn't matter that you make it to almost 40 without getting pregnant. Things work better when you're younger. You do not have to be in love to have sex. You don't even really have to like him, but it helps. It's fun and sweet, and if it's not, you're doing it with the wrong person. Get to know your body. You won't know what you like until you try it. Sex isn't a tool, a bribe or a reward. You'll be ashamed of that later. IV. Men They still do dumb shit to impress you, but now sometimes it works.

Always wear a bra, especially in air conditioning. Your eyes are up here. If he's more than ten years older than you, why is he into a teenager? They have feelings too. I know…I was also surprised by this one. They still always want to go "all the way" only now they ask for directions.


Tracey Saloman

V. Love It isn't a tool, a bribe, or a reward. Fall into it as often as you can. You can get back up. It's never the same twice, that doesn't mean it isn't as good. Never regret it. You may change someone's life forever. Maybe even your own.


When? by Katherine Gregory Maybe it will be when I buy a house? Or maybe it will be when I have a baby? But what if I never have kids? Or what if it’s when my parents die? Maybe it’s not until I get married. And if I never find a husband? Well, that’s a poem for a different day. Perhaps it’ll never happen. Perhaps I won’t ever feel like an adult. Maybe I’ll never stop looking around for a more grown up grownup when something goes wrong. Maybe I’ll always call my dad when I’m having car problems and I’ll always call my mom when I’m sick. Hold on. Then when was it that they felt like adults? And how did they figure out everything that they know? Do they actually know everything they say they do? Or is everyone just faking it? Even the real adults. Maybe that’s the secret. Just pretend like you know what you’re doing until someone else mistakes you for a grownup. But I don’t know if I like that either. Maybe Peter Pan was right all along. “And even though you want to, just try to never grow up.”


Students In Béarn, 1971 an excerpt from the story, Eighteen Years Old by Pamela Bullard After high school, I felt the itch to do something very different, to escape from my boring life with my family. I bravely called my old teacher, Madame Eliane. Her voice, clear and affectionate, came through the telephone line.

“Pamela, come to Paris to my apartment. Then you will go to a program I know of.” Once I had made it to Paris and her apartment, Eliane put me on the train to Pau, in the Bearn region in the Pyrenees. We had dorms in the Cite Universitaire, safe and comfortable. We also had our meals and meetings there, at the Université de Pau. It was summer and all was lush and emerald colored. There were students from many countries I had not heard of. I had little idea of their cultures, rarely having met anyone born outside the U.S. One day, a student from Canada offered us a ride in his old “Deux Chevaux,” a small, economical car. I just fit in with the other 4 students. We were planning a short drive in the area. Following different mountain roads, we found ourselves in front of a line of angry-looking soldiers, blocking the road, guns at the ready. We could only guess they were soldiers because of the dark green uniforms and powerful weapons. In a minute we heard words we could not understand, being yelled in our faces. “Papeles!” (I.D.’s!) Still unable to understand what had happened, we sat frozen. Then the men surrounded the car and began gesturing to us to get out. They opened the doors and began pushing or grabbing us to get us out. At that time we had still not realized where we were . Once we were out of the car we saw the red and yellow flag with the eagle in the middle. Eventually we could put together that we had crossed the border into Spain. We had previously had only a vague idea that the border was south-west of us, many miles away. We imagined it would have big signs saying, “Welcome to Spain.” No signs and no border crossings were visible.


Pamela Bullard

They began interrogating us, and we tried to say in French, “just driving, lost, students, we are students.” The men looked like they wanted to arrest us , and we looked blank when they asked for our passports, safely locked up in the school. Then they showed us a board of photos with some of the Most Wanted they were searching for in the area. Many were close to our ages, scruffy-looking young men and women in fuzzy photos. They began gesturing to us to empty our pockets. We watched dazed as our coins and student I.D. cards fell out. Our ID’s had our names and photos on simple cardboard cards with the name of the University of Pau, where we studied. This seemed to calm the soldiers down. They let us go, all the while yelling something threatening at us. At the time I had no idea who the dictator Francisco Franco was, (who had ruled 1939 to 1975) nor how dangerous those men we had just gotten away from were, his infamous “Guardia Civil” police. Shaken, we found our way back the few miles to France and the school. The next day we told our teachers in our limited French what had happened. Their smiles were replaced by looks of fear and cries of, “You could have been killed!” I had just turned 18 and had survived my first scare far from home.


Terrine by Anne Vincent Becker Lie on the grass aim your gaze just so thin mirage vibrates atop sunbaked deck light passes down bending toward denser air make shifting water backyard mermaid layer stingy allowance of marvel wedged between matted layers of common wood Crane your neck to see over 300-year-old oaks supermoon props itself in unabashed incongruence

appropriated light beams, complacent onto rarified air without airs of Apollo evanescent nonplus snatched slice of omnipresence crouched amid many slices of new moons Situate a terry towel underneath two chaises Zephyr stills his breath, shields your strands patient with the pitiful fort


Anne Vincent Becker

tenuous warmth brushes skin as he gallantly holds the door for rays bequeathed bulbs of reprieve chanced between pored, pursed swaths of single-minded seasons

“Summer Afternoon” Winslow Homer, 1872. Public domain image.


Katabasis by Kayla Conner I made our nest in the tallest tower. Surely the distance from the ground would save us. Forgetting the forcefulness of water and It’s natural tendency to seep into the cracks. Pulled to open sea on the crest of a wave. Down, I drowned under the weight of it all Down, down, down Buried under seafloor sediment I couldn’t find my footing. At the very bottom of everything, I hit the Break. A year and a half later and my body is still fighting invisible windmills while my mind yearns for a new adventure. Daydreaming of wind in my sails and salt stinging my nose As seabirds skim over the spray. I yearn to live free but Ligaments lengthen little by little and nerves only grow about 1 millimeter per day. We’ll be here a while. Maybe grab a seat with me. In my dreams I am still restricted. Fully paralyzed some nights. Dragging around my dead leg and its full weight. Pulling myself up a ramp as nameless faces speed past. They make no eye contact. They never stop to help. The same dreams hit me over and over Until the epiphany: That’s not me, anymore. I’m not sorry to see her go. She was so miserable.


Kayla Conner

Finally, the glint of something shiny hits my eye And with all my might I began to kick away from that ocean floor, Muddying the water in my wake. Nothing is clear anymore. Curiouser and curiouser, Light streaming down from the surface, The pressure squeezing my lungs lessening the closer I swim, Warmth enveloping me. Seven swans Settled together on a still pond. Blue sky, scattered clouds, yellow rays. Flowers I can’t name form the sweet breeze of May, Threading through trees much older than we. Take a deep breath. They’re not cold cement steps. We’re sitting together on the patio of the Honeymaker Bee Restaurant. Best spot in town. Come dream with me.

Found samaras in the center, little seashells, too. Mother Maple blessed this day. Strong roots take time. So does that really good maple syrup.


“Ocean Script” by Catherine Carter. Acrylic on paper, collaged on board. 2017


Tornado (To Hattie) by Rebecca Villineau Sometimes Its a cyclone And the walls are paper

The warnings Come milliseconds To impact There may be no Pandemic Week long counting Of illness A child may Describe the lord at bedtime And the light blinds The noise from the heart Is like nothing one has heard before

Deafening Thunderous Picking up everything in it’s path Even as we fall asleep Hands and legs and arms Entwined


Poetry: A Haiku by Mary Beth Yarmac

Reading poetry In a time of pandemic, A balm for my heart.

“Drying Wings” by Pat St. Pierre


Brick and Mortar and Completed Drafts by Patrica Gomes If I could choose but one in a world populated by big box stores, I would choose Rent-A-Word. A place away from the marathon of chasing prepositions with a net incorrectly gauged, its mesh large enough for dolphins to pass through while laughing their way to friendlier seas. Imagine the convenience of selecting an ottoman of thoughts to pull up and rest our slippered feet on; the sheer joy of finding THE consummate self-cleaning oven of pristine stanzas — all yours to own with no money down and no credit checks! The windows of this oasis would be hung with banners in kindergarten colors proclaiming adjectives and sentence structure. Verbs, pronouns, and arguable clauses. I envision couching myself on royal purple prose delivered to my door by muscular men in uniforms made of body builder magazine pages. Imagine the convenience: all this for $19.99 a week!


whirl’d’s least likely by K.R. Seward see the unicorn and Amelia Earhart off Bermuda's shore now far from Howland never mind the many passenger pigeons flocking nor the dodos walking nor Virginia Dare’s return to chalk bluff Albion of bluebirds coming and angry mirrored Vespa flung in medias res and Rosey’s fingered palm past pale painted angels’ grasp I stand bewildered what others must show those unknown we do or do not know say of Middle Passage who die over sea or stay bound and onward borne plus so many to them thereafter born so it is so we are and aren’t and maybe later are again ever shifting over and back as time's improbabilities


“Carnelian” by Jessika Lazala, acrylic on canvas. 2021.


Changed In Time by David Mello Shots rang out in Dallas. On the streets of Dealey Plaza. JFK was blown away. In the fall of ‘63. ‘68 would come too soon. Shoots struck again. April’s bullet toppled Martin, then Bobby fell in June. Our country was in turmoil from the war in Vietnam. Asked why we were there the question never answered. Riots plagued our major cities. Turning them into combat zones. Hoses turned on citizens, pushing them back against the wall.

We rode the bus to Mississippi where freedom riders disappeared. Churches burned in Birmingham. Criminal acts of the hooded Klan. Looking toward the future, we dreamed of love and peace. Our youth was filled with hope, that we would make a difference. We had our share of sit-ins— smoked grass to mellow—out. We stood up to the police, when they pushed us all about.


David Mello

Wearing flowers in our hair we marched in bannered groups— locked arm in arm for safety, singing common protest songs. We stood strong together. Fought for causes that were real civil rights and women’s rights and all that was unjust. Reached out to help the poor. Joined in to feed the hungry. Burned our bras and draft cards too. Prayed for peace throughout the world.

In the endwe all searched for something. One by one— was our job ever done? From ‘61 to ‘69 those years were not so kind. In nearly half a century— how much has changed in time?


One Sound by Bette Low Knots of families stroll on sugar sand. Snatches of small talk stream after In Creole, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese.

But one sound surrounds us: The happy laughter of children in the surf. Our kids can unite us all.


Ode to Hanson, and the Summer of ‘97 by Sarah Jane Mulvey I. Summer ‘97 The unbridled joy of an eight-year-old with a tape deck open windows, a summer day. A love song I can’t understand yet. Nonsense words for nonsense feelings. But they sound so sweet flung into the air lifted by little voices with bright blonde hair broken by grown-up voices grown-up emotions, more nonsense words Can you tell me? Say you can, but you don’t know. II. Summer 2007 The unbridled joy of an eighteen-year-old with an ancient car, a tape deck rolled-down windows, a summer night. Red light dance party To a love song I’m starting to understand. Still some nonsense, but my heart knows. Plant a seed, a flower, plant a rose. Which one’s gonna grow? No one knows, but you’re happy waiting for them.


Sarah Jane Mulvey

III. Summer 2017 The unbridled joy of a twenty-eight-year-old catching a bop on the mid-day Throwback radio hour. Open windows, a summer day. Caught between one chore and the next. Missing for just a few moments, That bright little bedroom, Those cool, dark red-light dance parties Little voices with bright blonde hair. More nonsense words, And a secret the grown-ups Still aren’t able to tell you.


Lockdown Limbo by Mary Beth Yarmac Is this enough? I didn’t leave the house yesterday. It was a cold day in Covid Lockdown Land. Locked down. Locked round. Locked over. Covid once. Covid twice. Covid never ending. I am encased by the hard shell of my narrowed life. But what about? The beautiful red of the cardinal out my window. The morning light slanting through the blinds. Lovely patterns in the rug at my feet. My bookcase, my very beloved bookcase. Orange sweet potato in the stew. The pretty tablecloth, never quite straight. Embroidered birds on sheer white curtains. My son's face, bright eyes above a white mask. A smile so warm it flames my heart. Is it enough? To be warm. To be safe. To be loved. To have books. To have food. To have music. To have love. Let’s dance the Lockdown Limbo!


The Gift Craved by Pamela Bullard At first , she would slip into the divine sleep of the angels. The bed cradled her as she drifted off. At first, she barely noticed a faint red shape a mere shadow upon the ceiling in the light of the moss green room. Days went by. The shape took form, almost like a person hovering there. Then she saw the eyes that bored into her as she tried slip into slumber. She saw the horned head, the hands of fire. The figure never moved, but instilled terror. The next day there were more. The beings formed a circle above her bed.


Pamela Bullard

The delicious voyage into the world of sleep was no more. Nights she shut her eyes against the circlethose who looked down upon her now a menace now a threat. They fed on her despair. They'd lick their lips when it floated up to them- a gift they craved Their song was a harsh braying sound; gone the celestial music which had once lulled her. She no longer tried to get out of bed. Curled into a ball, there was no escape. The descent into madness had begun.


Getting Back to My Roots By Tracey Saloman In the beginning, we treated it like any other class coffee cups in hand. Snacks surreptitiously of to the side while we typed private messages alongside power point slides. After the professor left, I waited a beat before asking if anyone else was breaking out. Everyone laughed— we all were. In these semi-darkened chats we bonded lounging in hoodies and pajamas in our kitchens cooking dinner or on our beds maybe in an office with the sounds of kids and dogs in the background. And we all wondered about the girl with the blank green wall behind her when she left the room. We exposed ourselves in ways we never would have, opening our lives on a virtual stage, lamenting unwaxed eyebrows the snapping of acrylic nails one by one. None of us bothered to shave our legs.


Tracey Saloman

I joked about the strands of grey more and more obvious on high def screens disguising my discomfort in the gap between 24 and almost 40. My laundry is full of yoga pants, and I read to my kids every night before bed. The timeline of quarantine is measured at a rate of approximately a ½ inch of hair growth per month. I weigh the cost of my youth against the inevitable journey getting back to my roots.


© 2021