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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 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 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 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 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 I’m sick of speaking for women who’ve died
Their stories and their disappearances
bludgeon me in my sleep
Hieu Minh Nguyen If things happen
the way they are supposed to
my mother will die before me.
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 My grandfather asked me: could I remember
him, the park, the birds, the bread?
I’ll be dying soon, he said.
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;