an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century


Barbara Ann Branca


You can’t socially distance in the Italian pork store

There is so much more than pork

But there is only one slim door for both ingress and egress

The sparkling glass case beckons with mozzarella in acqua, mounded meatballs

Marinated mushrooms, spirals of sausage, offerings of olives

You try to look from a safe distance between other patrons

Feasting eyes track row upon row across and down

Until you must zoom in for a closeup

Crusty loaves of semolina soldiers seeded or unseeded

Choices not to be made lightly!

The door jingles open

All eyes scroll right

Another masked dreamer enters

To gaze and graze

She seems safe like extended family

What if the floor magically moved everyone to the next station?

But alas I might not have the perfect view

To say to Fabrizio, late of Naples

Yes, that’s the one —

As dancing eyes flirt above his black mask


Barbara Ann Branca is a writer and performer who straddles the arts and sciences, creating musical and poetic works based on her lifelong passions for the environment, music, and family history—and who is happiest when those themes intersect. She has read poems from her chapbook, Flash Flood, in venues in the New York area and has been published in numerous anthologies.