Category Archives: Poetry 2021

ADR poetry published in 2021

How the war tamed me? by Amirah Al Wassif

How the war tamed me?

I’ve been raised by a ghost,
who used to spin around the tombstones twice
each war. I am the daughter of dust and blood.

My eyes sweep the broad streets seeking the light.
I sleep wide-eyed covered with darkness, shivering
from the cold—ice between my shoulders, never melting.

I call my family through my dreams,
see my mother walking on her knees toward
heaven. Then with wings like a butterfly.

I’ve been raised by a nightmare, which pushes me
to nowhere. I’m surrounded by bodies of the dead
holding a ticking bomb.

I wonder why I am here; I wait
to go back to my mother’s womb.


Image Credit: Painting of a hijab (DeviantArt/nysahanny)

Parable of Two Trees by John C. Mannone

Parable of Two Trees

A garden as large as a forest
with every kind of lovely tree
pleasant to the eye flourished.
In the center, two in particular,
stood tall:

One called Eba, a Cedar of Lebanon,
where tawny owls shared boughs
with bats. And deer rested under
its limbs, roots vining sandy soil
deep to soak up the holy river.

Continue reading Parable of Two Trees by John C. Mannone

Kelipoth – Broken Vessels by Howard F. Stein

Kelipoth – Broken Vessels
After the Jewish Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria of Safed, Israel [1570]

The breaking of the vessels:
Amid strewn shards
Of a coronaviral broken universe,
Tiny sparks of light
Gather quietly, unnoticeably,
And cling to the broken shards
Inside the bowls. Divine light
Flows into them for the work
Of tikkun olam, the mending
Of the world –
Emanations of Eros,
Making whole through love
What neither plague nor hate
Can dispel.


Image credit: Abstract image [depositphotos]

Life After Death by Lynn White

Life After Death

Something startled me:
where I thought I was safest
where I thought I belonged
so I will follow Whitman—
avoid the still woods I love
and fields where I used to walk.
I won’t emerge from my home
to meet friends in open spaces
or hug them and share a coffee,
there are no cafes anymore.

Even the ground has sickened.
Men in white spray disinfectant
over streets to stem disease.

Yet, I’m alive to sounds of spring
rising from death and decay of winter.
I’m alive to the prospect of summer
when death-fertilized ground shows life
and blooms.


Image Credit: Crocuses under the snow on a spring sunny day [Lyme Inn, Lyme, NH]

Just In Time by Ken Poyner

Just In Time

Jerry was too macho to wear a mask.
Never been sick a day in his life,
Except for the tonsillectomy, two rounds
Of pneumonia, countless unremembered colds,
And the flu he caught from an anonymous girl
He slept with only once. Besides,
The President he adores says likely
The virus is a hoax; or, at worst, is getting better—
We have rounded the corner.

Continue reading Just In Time by Ken Poyner

Home Health Nurse by Sara Backer

Home Health Nurse

His soft brown fingers explore my elbow, seeking
a sturdy vein. He calls me “Miss Sara” as if
I’m a Hollywood legend and I extend my breath
to ease the needle’s intrusion. As he tapes the shunt,
he asks if I’ve voted. Yes, two weeks ago, by mail. And you?
Three seconds—maybe four—his dark eyes looking
elsewhere before he says: I’m not a citizen.

Continue reading Home Health Nurse by Sara Backer

monotony by Mark A. Fisher


he sits upon a concrete sidewalk
watching aliens in business suits
sliding calculatingly down neon streets
sniffing wistfully at every
street corner ramen shop
considering each infraction of AI law
displayed in puddled reflections
down every rain-washed alleyway
filled with the crippled and demented
simulacra of the restless dead
without worlds enough
with nothing but time
and the patience of a mountain
caught in an infinite loop
still waiting for her return


Image Credit: Tokyo alley – Cyberpunk 2077 vibes – Ramen shop (Etsy/adjacentfuture)

a cup of chaos by Debasish Mishra

a cup of chaos

the morning begins for me
with the newspaper and a cup of chaos:

how a white knee dug into a black head
and planted death and an uprising—
how helpless folks died on their way
to their homes like those unsaid words
which never reached the tongue—
how sex is to be done with masks
the way you are expected to taste
a dessert standing outside
the glass wall of the confectionery—

the sun has grown stale now
after months of constant seeing
all the gods have lost their appeal
seasons turn     though time refuses to
budge and eyes crave for good news
amid furor of curfews
lockdowns     deaths
the way resilient peasants
eat morsels of hunger
yet sow hope in a parched land


Image Credit: A collage of a pile of newspapers [], a basket of shredded newspaper [], a spilling cup of coffee [], and WordArt