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Paulette Beete

Still Life with Bullets

By Paulette Beete Orlando Jones, a black actor, douses himself
in a bucket of bullets. I flinch. Bullet against
brown skin even without the bruised and
busted aftermath is no easy thing to bear.
Camille T. Dungy

Frequently Asked Questions: #7

By Camille T. Dungy Is it difficult to get away from it all once you've had a child?


I am swaying in the galley — working

to appease this infant who is not
Ilya Kaminsky

That Map of Bone and Opened Valves

By Ilya Kaminsky I watched a sergeant aim, the deaf boy take iron and fire in his mouth—
his face on the asphalt,
that map of bone and opened valves.
It’s the air. Something in the air wants us too much
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.”
Sally Wen Mao

Aubade with Gravel and Gold

By Sally Wen Mao I’m sick of speaking for women who’ve died
Their stories and their disappearances
bludgeon me in my sleep
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.
Melissa Tuckey

Requiem

By Melissa Tuckey Unable to sleep,
the blankets wrapped in waves, waves
as tall as dreams,
the dream world trying to make sense
Ruth Irupé Sanabria

Distance

By Ruth Irupé Sanabria My grandfather asked me: could I remember
him, the park, the birds, the bread?
I’ll be dying soon, he said.
Destiny O. Birdsong

To the Black Virgin Mary on a Steeple in Greensburg, PA

By Destiny O. Birdsong Or maybe you weren’t. Whenever I’m frightened,
anything can become a black woman in a granite dress:
scaffold for what’s to come: blue lights exploding
like an aurora at the base of the bridge;
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