Icons speak numbers to me: 1 unread. One thousand seventy-five not filed correctly. Kayla has changed two files. Antjea changed “poems for workshop.” Chris popped in on Microsoft teams. Terry sends a polite text thanking you for video- conferencing on her birthday. 2020. Icons came as saints or to saints, splinters in the palm. Fishes walking through red mud. Cats dragging rats by their tails. 100 cats in the backyard. Island cats, un-predatored except by man. Saint Whomever stretched and torn from limb. If the natural object is always the adequate symbol, how do I tell you of this time, how we spend it hopping from screen icon or screen to screen? How can you, who I hope never lives in this frenetic online, get the emotional weight, the mental strain? Or if you are living it now, let me say narcissus with orange-rimmed cup, wild white and purple violets in the grass we already need to cut out behind the garage where the wild strawberry is leafing. Lilacs, those Lincoln bushes, darkening toward flower. So much clover underfoot as the new heavier Spring rains delight the green trefoil. Every day, I look for sun. I see signs in green. The narcissus with orange-rimmed corona, wild white and purple violets in the grass of my own yard, the only place we travel. On the screen some shape or letter below speaks 5. Above and to the right the red 1. I think this season will never really end.
Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the Editor-in-Chief of this website. She’s the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso Review. Harbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor.
Guest Editor Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.