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Safia Elhillo

origin stories (reprise)

By Safia Elhillo i was born in the winter in 1990 in a country not my own
i was born with my father’s eyes maybe i stole them he
doesn’t look like that anymore i was born
in seven countries i was born carved up by borders
Jennifer Maritza McCauley

Old Blood

By Jennifer Maritza McCauley Before they tell us how to look
at our kilt brothers' bodies:

Tell them we already know how to see ‘em.
Tafisha A. Edwards

Your Rapist is on Paid Administrative Leave

By Tafisha A. Edwards 4. Your rapist has elected to continue receiving his bi-weekly paychecks via direct
deposit. Your rapist has elected not to cash out his 401K for fear of incurring
penalties. Your rapist recently called HR to review his health care coverage—
open enrollment will begin in a few short months and coverage options
are changing.
Hayes Davis

Saturday, 9:30am

By Hayes Davis After their hands are washed
After their utensils are chosen
After little brother needs help
After “Get back to the table!”
Teri Ellen Cross Davis

Drought

By Teri Ellen Cross Davis When you were inside me I could feel you thrive
your rounded kicks, my body your taut drum.
Now I beat these breasts, betrayed by a landscape
that wilts, a place where even tears won’t come.
Kyle G Dargan

Natural Causes

By Kyle Dargan Naturally, the gun is purchased from a farm in Virginia—pulled from a bushel of barrels
by a tremorous hand, a young man’s. His other fist proffers sweat-wilted dollars. The
farmer, compensated, keeps his gaze down as to remember nothing of the boy’s face.
Taylor Johnson

The Transkid Explains Gentrification, Explains Themselves

By Taylor Johnson When I again take out more than I have available in my bank
account and I know I shouldn’t to make the rent
I am grateful and lucky to pay there is
a woman on the bus who is the mother or aunt or some loved one of
Mahogany L. Browne

the best time

By Mahogany L. Browne the best time i had as a teenager
included a bottle of cisco and a sideshow
at the uptown gas station.
after Kenny’s body was bludgeoned by his girlfriend & her two brothers
Amanda Johnston

Night Hike

By Amanda Johnston The Outdoor Afros guide promises our eyes will adjust.
Moonlight is enough to see the beauty in the dark.
Without entering the woods, I see our blackness
pull the grassy hem over our bodies.
Ross Gay

ode to the puritan in me

By Ross Gay There is a puritan in me
the brim of whose
hat is so sharp
it could cut
your tongue out
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