Revisiting 2020: Our 50 Most Popular Posts of the Year



Dear As It Ought To Be Readers,


Despite everything 2020 threw at us, AIOTB Magazine was fortunate to receive so many brilliant poems, essays, interviews, and book reviews from writers around the world. Below, I have assembled the 50 most popular posts of the year based on the amount of hits they received. I know that few people will look back at 2020 with fondness, but maybe reviewing these posts from the year is a reminder of the resilience people have to continue to create in a crisis, and to channel the anxiety of the world into writing that connects us.

AIOTB Magazine was perhaps the only constant I had in 2020 that began and ended the year exactly the same, and completely intact. I have all of you contributors and readers to thank for that. Thanks for keeping me sane and connected to a community of writers when I most needed stability, creativity, and human connection in my life.

I have no idea what 2021 will look like, but if you keep reading and supporting each other’s work, you’ll at least have three new pieces a week on AIOTB Magazine to count on.


-Chase Dimock
Managing Editor



Omobolanle Alashe:

Jason Baldinger:

Rusty Barnes:

Jean Biegun:

Victor Clevenger:

John Dorsey:

Ajah Henry Ekene:

Loisa Fenichell:

Jeff Hardin:

John Haugh:

Mike James:

Jennifer R. Lloyd:

John Macker:

Tessah Melamed:


Hilary Otto:

Dan Overgaard:

Rob Plath:

Daniel Romo:

Diana Rosen:

Damian Rucci:

Leslie M. Rupracht:

Anna Saunders:

Sheila Saunders:

Alan Semerdjian:

Delora Sales Simbajon:

Nathanael Stolte:

Timothy Tarkelly

William Taylor Jr.:

Bunkong Tuon:

Peggy Turnbull:

Brian Chander Wiora:




Chase Dimock:

Mike James:

Arthur Hoyle:




Chase Dimock:



Brian Connor:

Cody Sexton:



Micro Fiction

Meg Pokrass:

Brian Chander Wiora: “So Together, So Soon”




So Together, So Soon

In this era of our apart,
I have learned how to live alone.
Breakfast with a single piece of toast, without
the small red promises
that only survive on the widths of our lips.
On the phone, I speak
in the language of tomorrow,
where meaning is made
from imagined mountains, hypothetical dogs
we would walk around forest and peak.
There is not enough vodka
to grab life from the vanquished backs
of old anguishes, not properly drank.
I experience my skin as a terrible ache,
an always pain, under my ribcage
where your armprint fades, remembered.
When we confess, we already know.
Water must lie flat on its stomach.
Exclusively, our conversation sways
into love and the expanses
of our most enormous cathedral.
And yet, when you tell me
of your dreams, even your dreams
punish me with possibilities.



About the Author: Brian Chander Wiora is an Indian-American poet from Dallas, Texas. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The American Literary Review, The McNeese Review, The Florida Review, Gulf Stream Magazine, and other places. He graduated with an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University in 2020, where he received the Creative Writing Teaching Fellowship.


More By Brian Chander Wiora:

We Might Have Existed

The Oysters


Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Burned Redwood” (2020)

AIOTB Magazine Announces our Nominees for the 2020 Best of the Net Anthology



As It Ought to Be Magazine is proud to nominate the following poems and essays for the 2020 Best of the Net Anthology




Rusty Barnes: The Act of Working

Caroliena Cabada: True Story

Leslie M. Rupracht: Hess Trucks and the End of the Double Standard

Anna Saunders: The Delusion of Glass

Dameion Wagner: I Have Returned Home

Brian Chander Wiora: We Might Have Existed





Cody Sexton: The Body of Shirley Ann Sexton

Carrie Thompson: I Don’t Want Your Hug



Thanks to all of our nominees for sharing their work with As It Ought It To Be Magazine!

– Chase Dimock
Managing Editor




Image Credit: O.F. Baxter “Pointer Dog” (1860s) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program


Revisiting 2019: Our 50 Most Popular Posts of the Year


Dear As It Ought To Be Magazine Readers,

As we enter the next decade, I want to thank all of the writers and readers who have made our tenth year so successful. I take enormous pride in working with so many talented and inspiring writers. Without your brilliance and generosity of spirit and intellect, none of this would be possible. It has been a great privilege to publish your work on our site, and I hope to continue featuring diverse perspectives, challenging ideas, and unique voices for years to come. As a way to look back on what we accomplished in 2019, I have complied the 50 most popular posts of the year based on internet traffic and clicks.

Thank you again to everyone who wrote for, read, and promoted AIOTB Magazine in 2019. Let the 20s roar again!

Chase Dimock
Managing Editor



Jason Baldinger:

Ishrat Bashir:

Jai Hamid Bashir:

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal:

Jeffrey Betcher:

Ace Boggess:

Daniel Crocker:

John Dorsey:

Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

Tony Gloeggler:

Nathan Graziano:

Cord Moreski:

Jeanette Powers:

Stephen Roger Powers:

Jonathan K. Rice:

Kevin Ridgeway:

Damian Rucci:

Anna Saunders:

Larry Smith:

Nick Soluri:

William Taylor Jr.:

Alice Teeter:

Tiffany Troy:

Bunkong Tuon:

Agnes Vojta:

Kory Wells:

Brian Chander Wiora:

Dameion Wagner:



Daniel Crocker:

Nathan Graziano:

John Guzlowski:

Cody Sexton:

Carrie Thompson:



Chase Dimock:

Mike James:


Photo Credit: Fire Works At New Year’s Eve via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

“We Might Have Existed” By Brian Chander Wiora



We Might Have Existed

It’s the future, where America falls
into book after book, each page laced
with a blue truth, like bubbles in an aquarium. 
The seahorses galloping past their hooves. 

When the pilgrims arrived, some had been here
before. From this, a whole country can be discovered. 
You need the sun to have rivers of sunlight. 
You need a river to have Columbus.

In the summer when I turned seventy-five, 
I bought ten thousand shovels, combing ten thousand 
heads of hair, in the parlor with a line out the door. 
Let me say: it was not a museum but a room

with every outfit we wore in that American time. 
How the red dress fell all night. How often 
did I fly to California, just to watch the birds 
eating eggs off my plate, a strange reincarnation. 

Touring the earth’s edge, I notice a nickel 
rolling over the horizon, Jefferson’s face facing 
the mountains in the south. Geography: 
as in the place where toy fish flap plastic fins,

those feral machines. The Americans are watching 
television again. We watch because the television 
is yellow. We watch because we know no 
good songs. The music happens, but not enough

for the noise to become more than an echo, 
the way a shadow falls behind us and is soon forgotten
by everyone but the lightbulbs, just Tesla
between Edison and a fetish for light. 

What happens in the aftermath of roses, America?
You are infamous for your boredom now. Someone there 
is a father, if not fatherhood. Someone else is desperate. 
And I am like the world. I can close my eyes, and spin.


About the Author: Brian Chander Wiora teaches poetry at Columbia University, where he is an MFA candidate. His poems have appeared in RattleGulf Stream MagazineThe New Mexico ReviewAlexandria Quarterly and other places. Besides poetry, he enjoys listening to classic rock music and performing stand up comedy.


More by Brian Chander Wiora:

“The Oysters”


Image Credit: Walker Evans “Highway Corner, Reedsville, West Virginia” (1935) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

“The Oysters” By Brian Chander Wiora



The Oysters

The better oysters on this plate are smoked, 
then dried, the abundant bivalves brought
from dugout canoes. We sit by the only window
lessened by blue curtains, never loosened. 

The shadow of the cubicle, you say, 
was too always for you, as if the sun
pushed itself away. On your long walks home, 
you would step through people’s breaths

just to feel the heat. An occasional candle
decorates each table. A small vase contains
a smaller flower, its yellow wilting. 
If only the oysters could shell you inside,

shield you from horse drawn ice plow, 
Hudson Iron, anthracite coal. 
Watch hemlock brick tan into leather, 
quite accidentally, just as it happens. 

This restaurant is crowded, therefore endless. 
Each table is its own bottomless moment.
We speak as though the long ago 
occurred yesterday, as if it became

pregnant with every imagined memory
of us. In May, when the mollusks harvest, 
when we would have cut our own hair 
and revel in its distance. The waves roll over

soil erosion, raw sewage, the resistance
of living from being alive. 
“The ravages of the axe are daily increasing”
said Thomas Cole, but he forgot about how

we open each oyster with our tiny utensils, 
bringing forth a single bite. Hunger is so vigilant. 
Find a bowl that’s not filled up, 
as in this room of which a later room

might be formed, as in a catch of oysters
lost in their own banks, bartered
for trade, their shells carved for knives. 
If we look quickly, they will be moving.


About the Author: Brian Chander Wiora teaches poetry at Columbia University, where he is an MFA candidate. His poems have appeared in RattleGulf Stream MagazineThe New Mexico ReviewAlexandria Quarterly and other places. Besides poetry, he enjoys listening to classic rock music and performing stand up comedy.


Image Credit: Édouard Manet “Oysters” (1862)