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Marcos L. Martínez

2001 Mill Road, Alexandria, VA

By Marcos L. Martínez There are immeasurable ways to count days: on the median the sunflower tracks UV streams: east to west then sleep; an acorn gets weeded out of the common area ‘til another live oak drobs a bomb then sprouts till, yanked away again;
Heather Derr-Smith

Iraqi-Style Fish Shop, Damascus

By Heather Derr-Smith The fish are opened up like salad bowls,
Slid between the metal bars of baskets,
Roasted in the wood-fired ovens, Iraqi style.
The flesh glows as if it were made of glass.
Jee Leong Koh


By Jee Leong Koh My grandfather said life was better under the British.
He was a man who begrudged his words but he did say this.

I was born after the British left
an alphabet in my house, the same book they left in school.
Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello

Above the Thin Shell of the World

By Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello I fell in love with a North Korean
by falling asleep on his shoulder
in a South Korean subway.
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
Imani Cezanne


By Imani Cezanne There is no moment when I am more reminded of my Blackness
than when I am at an airport walking through TSA
The Security Administration
Whose job it is to keep the planes from terrorism
Amal Al-Jubouri

Baghdad Before the Occupation

By Amal Al-Jubouri —My solitude, to which I always returned
City that kept my secret religion in her libraries

I came back to rest my head on her shoulder
and with just one look, she saw how tired I was
Zeina Azzam

Leaving My Childhood Home

By Zeina Azzam On our last day in Beirut
with my ten years packed in a suitcase,
my best friend asked for a keepsake.
I found a little tin box
Hala Alyan


By Hala Alyan You were mama’s; first and only boy, sable eyelashes long as an ostrich. Operatic, I claimed baba, his books and his sulk, first of the unrequited loves. What we took we took unasked.
Elexia Alleyne

The Love for My Culture

By Elexia Alleyne Maybe it’s the Spanish running through my veins
That’s the only way I know how to explain it
Maybe it’s the r’s rrrolling off my tongue
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