Tarana Burke · Ana Lazaro

The Six-Month Mark September 17, 2020 

Kayla Wilton

Last week, doomsday came and went quietly. I awoke to a morning dark as twilight,
A mirror sky reflecting apocalyptic blazes below. “It looks like Mars,” you said.
It looks like the end, I thought.
The parched air scraped in my nose, but
it smelled pleasant, like a campfire.
It was easier to think this than to gag on the ash of scorched forests, ruined homes,
14 dead and counting.
Four months ago, George Floyd was held down by a white police officer’s knee to his neck for eight minutes, forty-six seconds,
long enough for the 1906 earthquake to repeat itself nine times.
And like an earthquake, his death sent waves of grief and determination
to rebuild better,
to abandon what is broken and replace it with structures
befitting the world we desire.
But yesterday, one hundred miles away in Elk Grove, California,
a mother armed only with her cellphone camera stood off against a white police

They say that our commitment to each other makes them smile.
They look for us when they pass my street. I wonder if they will remember our faces

you received same-day negative covid test results. The next morning, you came to my house to see me for the weekend.
I raced down the front steps in bare feet to hug you for the first time in almost half a year.
Looking down at you from a second-story window, it was surprisingly easy to forget how tall you are up close.
I had lost weight I couldn’t afford to lose.
You had learned to cut your own hair.
We both looked different,
but you smelled the same.
The soles of my feet burned on the sun-baked sidewalk. My sobs echoed in the empty street.
You couldn’t help yourself; you cried too.
Today, I cannot smile without tears.
Small joys feel like miracles. They overwhelm

wearing a thin-blue-line bandana across her face. The cop’s hand rested casually on the deadly weapon at her hip
as she delayed giving the mother’s son a traffic ticket. For twenty minutes, this mother was forced to stand her ground and declare,
“My son will not be the next hashtag.”
Six months ago, we celebrated your birthday. It was a good day, one we didn’t expect to have after two of your coworkers came down with a cough and fever.
Self-isolation proved unnecessary, and we thought we had escaped
a two-week separation,
a worst-case scenario.
Ten days later, shelter-in-place went into effect in San Francisco.
We prepared for three weeks apart.
We suffered through twenty-one.
For five months, I only saw you in person from my living room window.
You chatted with me from the sidewalk below. Neighbors I didn’t know before the pandemic nicknamed us
Romeo and Juliet.

when the pandemic ends,
God knows how long from now.

Five weeks ago, by some miracle

me. So I dampen my emotions.
This is not the first time I have nestled myself into despair,
wearing it like a security blanket
because finding a bright side feels futile, inappropriate.
It won’t be the last time, either.
But even the Earth still spins as it burns.
Numbly, I walk to the kitchen to microwave leftovers. I sip my tepid coffee.
I gaze out the window and remind myself that, today, the sky is gray with fog,
not ash.
I sit on the couch in the same clothes that I wore yesterday, that I slept in,
and I type a poem
while I wait to feel okay again

RBG · Ana Lazaro

Down Apiece Jeff Kaliss 

She lies down, 

downhill from the clapboard house, and the barn, far from her bed, 

and she rises to rest 

down left on Wyeth’s canvas. 

There she stretches 

along all our memories 

where she may stay, 

if only she can, 

long past the sea-cooled day’s dusk 

outside the town of Thomaston, 

and long after, 

after she’s gone to ground 

in the town cemetery, 

and the artist has been lain 

beneath a worded stone, 

way down along the rolling hills 

of Pennsylvania. 

For now, with us, 

she feels with the brief, short life 

of a Maine meadow, 

in all its amber multitude, 

her eyes, away from ours, 

watching the waves of simple splendor, no place for longing there. 

It’s we who want her wanting.

Football and Beer Carla Schick

I hated the smoke filling
My lungs with grime and tar
In a car too small for noxious
chatter. My dad turned the radio dial
to a summer baseball I couldn’t picture
men running around the bases. Bored
with radio announcer intonations calling out balls & strikes, wins & losses

Winter snows brought football
An incessant cold
I didn’t feel inside
while my dad’s NY Giants
Trounced across the 1 st yard line
just as we pretended
29-31-7 hike, he the quarterback, I the center And the running back, my leap to hold on crossing the goal. My mother jumped up, scolding — 
“It’s a girl” My dad ignored her

After half-time ended we’d sit

On the couch, I with my peanuts,
He with his beer. Screaming at the picture Of a game we’d never see in living color.

My dad died before Kaepernick took a knee. No radical, his heart would still beat for the man Who took a stand.
Salute the flag with protest
My dad would have downed another
Beer, cried out against the weariness
That taped mouths shut, stomped
Out their bodies until breath
Came no more.

My dad loved football, proud
Erasmus High grad, the school that produced Sid Luckman, 1940 s quarterback hero.
But my dad cared more
for words or silences that would deliver us A flag with no bloody holes.