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Ellen Bass

Witnesses

By Ellen Bass Today is gray, drizzling,
but not enough for drops to pool
on the tips of the silver needles
or soak the bark of the pines at Ponary—
Javier Zamora

from The Book I Made with a Counselor My First Week of School

By Javier Zamora His grandma made the best pupusas, the counselor wrote next to Stick-Figure Abuelita
(I’d colored her puffy hair black with a pen).

Earlier, Dad in his truck: “always look gringos in the eyes.”
Mom: “never tell them everything, but smile, always smile.”
Hieu Minh Nguyen

POLITICS OF AN ELEGY

By Hieu Minh Nguyen If things happen
the way they are supposed to
my mother will die before me.
Sarah Browning

Gas

By Sarah Browning After the great snow of 2016, my car sits
locked in icy drifts a week, green fossil
of the oil age preserved in graying amber.
Nesha Ruther

L’Chaim

By Nesha Ruther L’chaim to my rabbi who gets red in the face during prayer
and sings off-tune
we can always hear him.
Esther Lin

Spratly and Paracel

By Esther Lin After learning his appointment was canceled
and his senior bus won’t come for another two
hours my father calls from his waiting room
Lauren Camp

Pause Hawk Cloud Enter

By Lauren Camp The soup cooks for an hour while vultures and buzzards pluck the market.
My father wipes his forehead with a white cloth.

Once, each day began with khubz and samoon
Ellen Kombiyil

Deported

By Ellen Kombiyil We are on the plane now
crossing ocean. The pressurized
air is sweet not stale never
stale, the cabin set for
Kaveh Akbar

Do You Speak Persian?

By Kaveh Akbar Some days we can see Venus in mid-afternoon. Then at night, stars
separated by billions of miles, light travelling years
to die in the back of an eye.
Dunya Mikhail

Ama-ar-gi*

By Dunya Mikhail Our clay tablets are cracked
Scattered, like us, are the Sumerian letters
“Freedom” is inscribed this way:
Ama-ar-gi
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