Virginia S Fesunoff


I live on a pretty street
We live in a pretty house
I birthed pretty children
We make pretty good money
I am pretty healthy
We are pretty fortunate
I work pretty hard


My books are pretty far behind
The vegetables in the crisper are pretty far gone
I’m pretty sure I can just buy more
I’m pretty anxious when I leave the house


I’m pretty sure that
I’m pretty careful
It’s a pretty short drive to the store
My heart is pounding pretty hard

The line for the groceries was pretty long
That lady has a pretty mask
That guy looked pretty angry
I’m pretty sure I should avoid him

People are pretty angry
Standing on my pretty rickety deck
I could hear the firing of rubber bullets pretty clearly
I am pretty anxious that my son returns safely

It’s pretty hot outside
The billowing wildfire smoke seems so pretty
Our future is not looking pretty
I’m pretty certain we’ll get through this
Life might seem pretty great

It certainly is pretty

Born in San Francisco, Virginia has spent more than half her life in Riverside.
She is a business owner for money, photographer by education, gardener by love, paint-stripper by trade, and grandmother in joy.

Aiko Offner

Clean Me Please

Scrub, for 20 seconds
Between each finger,
The webby skin atop
My palm

Don’t forget the crook
Collecting dust
Between my thumb
And the body

Wring my wrist too,
Just in case
Kill the germs
Wash them off

Rid myself
Of sins from last night
My grimy phone screen
The infected air

Particles in the air
That suffocate
Our every normal now

Scrub, for 20 seconds
That I’ll be clean
That we’ll be clean again

Aiko Offner is born and raised in Southern California, and writes mainly poetry and creative nonfiction. She’s been spending her time during quarantine holed up in her room writing away, about things that felt like nothing in a previous era.

Megan Wildhood

Boundaries with Pandemics

        My boss has seen my bed. So has my therapist. Just when I had set a goal to work on boundaries.
        Other subjects I have not seen effectively make it into the collective conversation as of the end of July 2020, four months into the COVID closures in the United States: the damage socially distancing can cause; quarantining with abusive housemates (a distinct subset of domestic violence that’s gotten zero attention comparatively); quarantining at home when you have no home; how completely ineffective shaming people is in changing their behavior and yet how proud many people are about practicing mask shaming; the jumbo mental-health crisis that already existed in this country before COVID, how much worse COVID is making it and the utter lack of any sort of national response or plan; just how literal we who joke about “time not feeling like a real thing anymore ha” are actually being and what that means for those of us who feel like some mental-health-crisis-sized desires of our hearts are being destroyed by COVID; how every American being considered about property damage is and accountability/tracking for how effective defunding police budgets is.
        Maybe most importantly, though, is just how not worth it life becomes when you let fear drive your bus. I’ve done this my whole life: I’m a catastrophist. On the one hand, there’s never a better time to be a catastrophist than during a catastrophe—I still have not needed to buy toilet paper since lockdown commenced because I am always prepared to be stuck in my house for at least two months, though, now that I think about it, that might have been wishful thinking on my part rather than conscious planning ha. On the other hand, everything I’ve always wanted is on the other side of fear. Until COVID, you might as well have told me that everything I wanted was on the other side of the rainbow: it was easier to amputate my dreams and reach for satisfaction through the false importance of busyness than to really try for something I might never get.
        Well, it was easier until it wasn’t. I know an explanation should come next, but I don’t have one. Maybe that’s what grace is: you get a thing you needed without being able to track where or how or why or even when, really. You can’t explain this new thing you have and yet, you have it anyway, and you get to keep it. I get to keep my inability to settle for life sans dreams that was cocooning during the worst of my life (2019 ha).
        So, while all conventional understandings of boundaries are being obliterated by executive mandates to stay home, I have the power to at least set this one: when a pandemic asks for my resignation-from-dream-life letter, I will say no. And I won’t let my lack of plans or my fear or even my socially-ratified desire to be “reasonable” write one behind my back.

Megan Wildhood is an empathic, neurodiverse lady writer, social worker in training and unique-earring collector in Seattle who helps her readers feel genuinely seen as they interact with her dispatches from the junction of extractive economics, mental and emotional distress, disability and reparative justice. She hopes you will find yourself in her words as they appear in her poetry chapbook Long Division as well as TheAtlantic, Yes! Magazine, Mad in America, The Sun and elsewhere. You can learn more at

Sandeep Kumar Mishra

Corona -Vorona Days-Ways

The humanity is caving in slow corona motion
I like a sea mice back to my hide-hole,
Set an alarm every morn, lay in bed to ignore it
I stay, for what seems like minutes but becomes hours
Week and weeks in hibernation, am I a little lonely bear?

Sometimes I feel homesick in my home and
think I’m put in a home jail for not having corona,
It feels like a creepy clown chasing me
or I am being cornered by zombies,
I work from green home but the world is in red zone

As I log on for socialising and switch on to remote voice
Are vectors we all or postcodes alike,
My body robots repeat eat, sleep and eat
Is breakfast still breakfast if I have it at 12 ?
Is dinner still dinner if I have cookies for tea?

Now this thing is non-fiction- health vs economy
The virus does not care
for the digits in your bank account
or your total assets or the GDP,
And even the fiction is dark, but there’s still music

The relentless race of traffic and people
have been turned into marathon conscious breath,
Shopping has became tracking down others health,
Sanitizer in the pockets,wearing face masks
Sneezing is new way to attract attention,
Corona warriors on the front line,
but some people still curse and cry

I blink my eyes, focusing in on the horizon
as if concentration itself will transport me to another place,
Did I just see a butterfly land in that flower?
When kookaburras cackle flying over empty streets
When the crickets’ chirp sounds alone,
Do they know what is happening to us?
Am I noticing more than I did before?

The lungs feel clear, birds have replaced planes,
We venue out of the house to the garden and back in again
it’s made all of us hermits
The sky is blue now, or is it just me?
Now I understand less means more
Covid-19 is a hydra- headed challenger

to our modern modality to wake up
buying cheap tack from cheap labour,
I wonder why I feel a sense of guilt
when I see others suffering while I am not,
But I am now getting used to my pyjamas


Sandeep Kumar Mishra is an outsider artist, poet and lecturer in English Literature and political Science. He is the art instructor at Kishlaya Outsider Art Academy.He has edited a collection of poems by various poets – Pearls (2002) and written a professional guide book -How to be (2016) and a collection of poems and art – Feel My Heart (2016). Learn more about him by visiting his website

Ragini Goel

Sterilized Muse

My door knobs are shining
All locks sterilized
My bathrooms are sparkling
My kitchen organized
I’ve put away my perfumes
I smell like Lysol wipes
Cleaning all day
I’m really sterilized
The Muse never knocks
On my door anymore
Cooking and Cleaning
Have become Mi Amor

I chat on the phone
As I always can
I jog in the house
Like I’m at the gym
I play bridge on the computer
Like I’m with real friends
I look in the mirror
And powder my face
I go to my closet
And try on some clothes
Then dress to the hilt
But nowhere to go

I say to myself
This can’t be true
I’m sad and lonesome
Not a creature around
Texting and phoning
Doesn’t do it for me
I’m dying to hear
A human sound
I long for the contact
I crave very much
I yearn for the healing
Of a grandchild’s touch

Where is my family
Where are my friends
Is this the same world
Is this where I live
I wonder and wonder
And ponder again
Confused perplexed
I’m going insane
Scratching my head
I start mopping the floor
When suddenly I see
The Muse exit my door.

Deenaz P. Coachbuilder

The space that binds us.

I keep washing my hands,
20 seconds they say,
20 seconds of

From Wuhan to Milan
the breezes blow

invisible currents
microbes and mortals.

Safe at home, I convince myself,
lulled in the backyard patio
gazing at the remote

San Bernardino mountains
80 miles afar
yet closer than an eyelid’s flash.

This is the place where my soul strings loosen.
They float among double delight roses
sweep over decomposed granite walkways,

swoop, encircle,
then streaming out over caverns remote
for I am everywhere

and nowhere,
shedding bits of flesh I never owned,
retaining merely essence

the space between
an illusion
for there is no space

between us,
spiritual brethren

Gerard Sarnat

Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published in academic-related journals (e.g., Universities of Chicago/ Maine/ San Francisco/Toronto, Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Pomona, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Penn, Dartmouth, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Baltimore) plus national (e.g., Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library Literary Journal, South Broadway Press, Parhelion, Clementine, pamplemousse, Red Wheelbarrow, Deluge, Poetry Quarterly, poetica, Tipton Journal, Hypnopomp, Free State Review, Poetry Circle, Buddhist Poetry Review, Poets And War, Thank You For Your Service Anthology, Wordpeace, Cliterature, Qommunicate, Indolent Books, Snapdragon, Pandemonium Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Montana Mouthful, Arkansas Review, Texas Review, San Antonio Review, Brooklyn Review, pacificREVIEW, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Fiction Southeast and The New York Times) and international publications (e.g., Review Berlin, Voices Israel, Foreign Lit, New Ulster, Transnational, Southbank, Wellington Street Review). He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles: From Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry is a physician who’s built and staffed clinics for the marginalized as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently he is devoting energy/ resources to deal with climate change justice. Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons, and is looking forward to future granddaughters.

John C. Krieg

Coronavirus Has Nothing on Retirement
This Thing is Getting Serious
In all seriousness, I know this is a
legitimate National Emergency
And I must do what I can to protect
my family, and myself from it

But there are some things that smack of panic
Hoarding, runs on toilet paper, and sanitizer(s)
And some things that smack of despicable greed
Price gouging, and offering fake testing products

This is like The Book of Revelation
In real time, and in Technicolor
Great good, and great evil are on high display
I’m praying that good will triumph in the end

But Coronavirus has nothing on retirement
For nobody knows where I am
Or what I have been doing
Or if I’m dead or alive

A six-foot safety radius?
Try the circumference of the globe
Social distancing?
Try 5 acres removed from my closest neighbor

Containment zones
Mine starts at my property line
Chillout? I’m like a block of ice
Get a grip? I’ve never lost it

We’re always stocked up on food, anyway
Have e-mail, and satellite T.V.
Bank and pay bills over the internet
Have well water, and 500 gallons of propane

So as long as the electricity stays on
Our lives go on as usual
We are the lucky ones, I know, and I
Feel remorse for my less fortunate brethren

And my grandchildren living at home
With the school closed, they are
going to go bonkers with boredom, and
Demand attention keeping me from my writing

Circle the wagons
Us versus them
Pray that some Americans
don’t turn on other Americans

“We are all in this together,” is the
current rallying cry, but I wonder why
It took this pandemic for the nation
to actually believe it

CFS: Caronavirus Fatigue Syndrome
It’s coming, if it isn’t here already
People will let down their guard
Paying for that with their lives

I’m paying for my retirement with my life
My golden years are taking years off my life
I blame myself first, and the system second
The truth being that when you retire – you’re forgotten

In retirement, many are under
Self-inflicted house arrest
Spending as little as possible
And never going anywhere

So retirees are at least a leg up
On the rest of the country
In knowing how to deal with
Isolation and loneliness

Coronavirus has nothing on retirement
Except the speed at which suffers will die
A sad truth, for death is death, but now
We may not get to choose our time

A Few Days Later
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day!
And nobody’s throwing a party
It’s raining again in Southern Cali
So I watch the news that’s saying:

Coronavirus! Coronavirus!! Coronavirus!!!
Coronavirus! Coronavirus!! Coronavirus!!!
Coronavirus! Coronavirus!! Coronavirus!!!
Coronavirus! Coronavirus!! Coronavirus!!!

Say; have you heard about the Coronavirus?

This thing is like the grayscale
On Game of Thrones
Where’s John Brady when you need him?
To research our salvation in a dusty old tomb

And even the Mad King
Seems to finally get it
He can’t laugh and lie
His way out of this one

He’s no longer mocking all of us with:

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!!!
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!!!
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!!!
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!!!

Hey Mr. President: The sky is falling!

Dr. Edward O. Wilson tried to warn us humans
That as the apex species, we weren’t so special, because
All those little creepy crawleys at the bottom of the pyramid
Were looking up at us, and plotting our demise

And Now a Constructive Suggestion
Build the necessary facilities to house
the poor, the sick, the huddled masses
Wasn’t that the point of the Statue of Liberty?
After the plague, use them to house the CCC

Bring back the CCC!
Hasn’t this thing taught us the need for preparation?
Let the youth have an alternative to national service
That doesn’t require toting a gun or killing someone

With a standing peaceful army on our own soil
We won’t get caught with our pants down again
Those creepy crawleys aren’t going to give up, and the
New normal is to assume that pandemics are normal

Examining the Arc of a Lifetime
This thing is like a giant meteor
Heading straight at geezers
With preexisting conditions that most
Gave to themselves
Those with Type II diabetes (me)
And COPD (she)
We have never seen anything like this in our lifetimes
Or we would have paid closer attention to our health

That’s the worst of retirement
You have the time to ponder
The things you should have done
Not that it makes a bit of difference now

Coronavirus has nothing on retirement
Except the speed at which suffers will die
A sad truth, for death is death, but now
We may not get to choose our time

My Self-fulfilling Prophesy (3/17/2020)
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day!
And nobody’s throwing a party
Coronvirus! Coronavirus!! Coronavirus!!!
Yeah I get it, as a geezer, I could die
Die sooner rather than later
And the hell of it is that
I was cocky about death
For indisputable proof
Consider my go-to spiel
At the start of all my
recent cover letters:

Greetings from the poorer half of the two Americas. Admittedly, this is the last wheeze of an old white dinosaur who sometimes feels that his boomer generation will have to die off before the future of the country can be shaped in the image and likeness of those about to inherit the country, my grandchildren included.

Know that my quarter century quest to become an overnight literary sensation became derailed by my ongoing career as a landscape architect, swimming pool contractor, and outlaw pot farmer. At 68 I have decided to devote what time I have left exclusively to writing.

Well…grandpa, you better
get your ass in gear
You popped off all noble-like
Practically volunteering to croak
For the good of the youth of America
(your grandchildren included)
Go on with your smug self, you old fart
What are you going to do now?
To talk your way out of this one?
Remember what Honest Abe had to say
About dullards, and opening their mouths:
Better to remain silent and be
thought a fool than to speak out
and remove all doubt.
And then you cranked out:
Coronavirus Has Nothing on Retirement
And against all advice in every single book
on submissions; you submitted it – 10 times!
You could have/should have waited
but this is b-r-e-a-k-i-n-g n-e-w-s-!
And you went with the flow like
a man in barrel taking on Niagara Falls
Besides your usual go-to slabber
You’ve issued a self-inflicted fatwa
Your words could become
A self-fulfilling prophesy
And to make matters worse you
infused your death wish with an
explanation of enhanced implication:

This is not intended to be a, “Shit your pants if you are a geezer, because we are all going to die,”
Manifesto. There is some bright light and constructive suggestions contained herein. I get it, we all get it, this is the most extraordinary moment of our lives, and in surviving it I can only hope that America will experience profound change for the betterment of all her inhabitants.

Well…grandpa, you’ve gone ahead
and completely shat you pants with
all this “betterment” hyperbole
What are you going to do now?
G-e-t-u-p, c-o-w-b-o-y-up, m-a-n-u-p
It’s time to put your life
Where your words are
For the betterment of the species
Homo sapiens
(your grandchildren included)

Pandemic (3/19/2020)
This thing is either going save us or kill us
For it has exposed us for who we are
Great good and great evil battling it out
for supremacy right here in the U S of A
The war for the soul of America is now on high display
24/7 on every news channel: This is a Pandemic!

Where are the youth that didn’t vote for Bernie?
Show yourselves. I want to give you a lecture:
What is it with you kids?
What! with free health care, free college, and free pot
you couldn’t get off your asses to come to the polls?
Wait just a minute – I can see on the news –
they’ve been located partying down at South Beach
Turn up the Calypso music, and pass the booze
While their future goes down the tubes
But the folly of youth now has a potential do over
America might finally get her priorities straight
Because of the Coronavirus, that wants to kill
off all those annoying self-righteous boomers
Who closed down the beaches and ruined all their fun

Same shit different decade
Same shit different crisis
But the same solution!
The ghost of Ron Reagan is now a bag lady
throwing bread crumbs from a bench in the
Senate to us lower class pigeons
Don’t worry, there’s enough to go around
Meet the new boss – same as the old boss
T-r-i-c-k-l-e d-o-w-n e-co-n-o-m-i-c-s-!
But not for all, as Kevin McCarthy
has stepped up to the mike at Fox News
His scrunched forehead looking
like it’s about to pop a vein
This bailout is not for you takers – no way José

Even McConnell had a lapse of compassion
For about two minutes
And that cheesy grin on Rand Paul’s face
Let’s re-litigate the Afghan War
With the body count rising on the television crawl like
the old tickertapes tallying the burgers sold at MacDonald’s
As the childish milk white pukes mill about on the Senate floor
Like confused cattle in a pen looking for the door
“We don’t know what to do! We don’t know what to do!”
Wait just a minute – there’s a disturbance – some
young woman has crashed this den of sloth
She’s holding up a plan
“A plan? In this fucking place?
We don’t have plans! The audacity!
Run for cover fella’s, it’s AOC!”
With that Green New Deal of hers’
That’s worse than broccoli.
Wipe that red lipstick off your face young lady
This is a serious solemn place with a tradition
Of doing absolutely nothing

Over in the House they’re already sounding the battle cry
We’re going to look into this – just you wait and see
There is sure as shit going to be another:

Investigation! Investigation!! Investigation!!!
Investigation! Investigation!! Investigation!!!
Investigation! Investigation!! Investigation!!!
Investigation! Investigation!! Investigation!!!

Hey have you heard? The House is conducting
Another Investigation!!!!!!
Isn’t that just what we need?
While the homeless die in the streets
Poor kids can’t get their school lunches
And everyone’s running out of toilet paper, but
when in a pinch just use The Constitution (1787)
Shelter in place? My kids are hungry, but
I sure enough want me another investigation
That should solve everything

Wait just a minute – the disgruntled kids have
been located again – out in the rose garden
Clamoring to have their voices heard
So the Mad King lets them up into the oval office
And the nubile bikinied sun goddesses dance on his desk
As the margarita mixers whirr Trump dons a
festive sombrero while shaking colorful maracas
that he stole off a Mexican detained at the border
They’re doing the limbo, and sucking Jello-shots
off his fat fucking belly, while in the background
Secret Service Agents discretely gyrate to the Macarena
From his stiff historic hanging portrait Honest Abe
surveys the scene thinking:
This party’s sooo lame. Where’s a decent
Mariachi Band when you need them?
Oh, that’s right, ICE locked them all up.
And just when it looks likes this rager is starting to lose
its mojo, Wild Mike Pence suddenly shows, and digging the
vibe, he starts groping his crotch like Michael Jackson, and
flicking and twitching his tongue like Gene Simmons
Rudely awaked from her slumber in the next room, Malania
hastily gussies up and changes into a designer nightgown, and
then in matronly fashion, brings a party platter of Ectasy and
Gummy Bears infused with THC to the soiree, and with this heaven
sent shot of adrenaline, the pandemonium flames on into the night
For why shouldn’t they have to fight for their right to party?
And why should they have to worry about this trifling pandemic thing?

Nothing’s going to happen to any of them.

John C. Krieg is a retired landscape architect and land planner who formerly practiced in Arizona, California, and Nevada. He is also retired as an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist and currently holds seven active categories of California state contracting licenses, including the highest category of Class A General Engineering. He has written a college textbook entitled Desert Landscape Architecture (1999, CRC Press). John has had pieces published in A Gathering of the Tribes, Alternating Current, Blue Mountain Review, Clark Street Review, Conceit, Homestead Review, Indolent Books, Line Rider Press, LOL Comedy, Lucky Jefferson, Magazine of History and Fiction, Oddball Magazine, Palm Springs Life, Pandemonium, Pegasus, Pen and Pendulum, Saint Ann’s Review, Squawk Back, The Book Smuggler’s Den, The Courtship of Winds, The Mindful Word, The Scriblerus, The Writing Disorder, Twist & Twain, and Wilderness House Literary Review. In conjunction with filmmaker/photographer Charles Sappington, Mr. Krieg has completed a two-part documentary film entitled Landscape Architecture: The Next Generation (2010). In some underground circles John is considered a master grower of marijuana and holds as a lifelong goal the desire to see marijuana federally legalized. Nothing else will do. To that end he has two books coming out this year being published by Red Dashboard LLC Publications entitled: More Marijuana Tales and It’s Just Marijuana.

Stephen Priest

The Heart of the Outbreak

The ambulance siren’s
the crow and the lullaby.
And every hour,
the church bell,
the church bell.
I wash my hands.
I wash my hands.
I spray the doorknob
and floor with 409.
I wash the 409.
I wash the soap.
I go for a walk,
it’s seedtime spring,
wan-sun-warmed air,
but around every corner
is someone
and every someone’s
a hospitable threat.
I write to the person I love.
It’s easier to write
to people you love now
because technology;
it isn’t any easier
to be alone.
In Ireland,
a country a friend
from 1998
called “third-world”
because of its boggy
internet, a country I hope
to be homesick in again;
in Ireland,
in the liminal drizzles
of history, when plagues
were greater and more arcane,
monks sheltered
in man-sized, deserted beehives,
with nettles for beds
and maybe a rooster for a friend.
Next year, in a decade,
friends, no friends,
I’ll walk into those beehives
again. I have to believe.

Stephen Priest grew up in Dayton, OH and now lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. His poems (sometimes under the pseudonym Gergen Manstoff) have appeared in 32 Poems, The Agriculture Reader, Birmingham Poetry Review, Barrow Street, cellpoems, Juked, Subtropics, and other publications. His unpublished first manuscript has been a semi-finalist, runner-up, or finalist for a number of book awards.

Lawrence Brown


Streaming through the freeway,
on my way home,
to Rialto I drive
in a metered haze
unencumbered by traffic.

My elderly parents—both in their 80s and
contrary as ever—
safely in my childhood home await
Stater Bros groceries
procured by their youngest child and
only son—now in his 50s—
speeding alongside the Santa Ana River
from Southern Orange County.

In this time of disease,
it is a time of release
and the journey from
County to County
taken untold times over
the past thirty years
(from the initial fleeing
of the Empire in the 1980s,
so pocketed in LA blown smog
as to choke back a yearning to stay),
but never with this consistency.
Now the trips are survival,
and the former Alpha Beta
still producing sustenance
for a family fractured.

The house is relatively the same—
above Baseline and West of the Bench—
a demarcation over time unrecognizable.
The Orange groves, once a battlefield
for adventure-seeking youth,
now filled with tract housing,
create a pattern with no room to grow,
to feel out the space between.

Still one open lot around the corner—
the neighbors banded together and refused to allow a strip mall—
signals a memory of time past,
puppy dogs buried in silent reverie,
BMX bikes lurching through self-made courses,
and I take my traditional drive
down the neighborhood street
to make sure that not
too much has changed.

With mask secured, I bring the groceries—
ice cream, graham crackers, ribs—
and meet the parents in the garage.
I do not go in the house,
been warned not to,
and we do not touch
but stay away,
within hearing distance,
yet the bifurcation is complete.
I am here but separated.

I do my part, willingly.
Deliver vitals, conversation,
and some physical labor in the backyard.
It is overgrown—the backyard—but
still recognizable.
Eucalyptus windbreak standing tall,
housing my penthouse tree fort
obscured by redolent leaves
and the years.

Mom—now pushing a walker but on her fanny working the soil—
has weeded through the steeling sun of midday,
and Dad—almost 90, (tall, straight, solid)
with hobbled knees and flowering bunions, stands
resilient like San Berdoo—
still has his hodgepodge of collected
do-it-yourself materials, no longer
beehives but now boxes of worms
snaking through nutrient rich soil
waiting to be sprinkled on withering plants.

The virus has changed the world—for now—
but some old patterns for the better.
The trips to Rialto, my slippery past,
are now fortified by the daunting reality
we are collectively spinning,
outside norms established without forethought,
and must step back from the centrifuge
to support the base
that is foundation
for the whole.


Lawrence Brown grew up in Rialto for the first 18 years of his life and now lives in Mission Viejo. His parents still live in his childhood house and he visits often. He teaches high school English in Long Beach.