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Jericho Brown

Prayer of the Backhanded

By Jericho Brown Not the palm, not the pear tree
Switch, not the broomstick,
Nor the closet extension
Cord, not his braided belt, but God
Tara Betts

Understanding Tina Turner

By Tara Betts Quiet girl found a voice mama could not quell
inside Nutbush City Limits. The baby
blasted beyond timid Annie Mae into Tina
Randall Horton

Note from a Prodigal Son III

By Randall Horton The gavel
The splintered body
The red-neck guards
Philip Metres

For the Fifty (Who Formed PEACE With Their Bodies)

By Philip Metres In the green beginning,
in the morning mist,
they emerge from their chrysalis
Ocean Vuong

Kissing in Vietnamese

By Ocean Vuong My grandmother kisses
as if bombs are bursting in the backyard,
where mint and jasmine lace their perfumes
Jeffrey McDaniel

Air Empathy

By Jeffrey McDaniel On the red-eye from Seattle, a two-year-old
in the seat behind me screeches

his miniature guts out.
Francisco Aragón


By Francisco Aragón Despite the absent head (whose eyes

were the green of apples)
Natalie Illum

IV. Wheel Spinning

By Natalie Illum The first time I saw these activists turned
acrobats, I was immobilized as they arched
through hoops, twisting like DNA.
Richard McCann

from Nights of 1990

By Richard McCann What I could not accept was how much space
his body was taking with it: for instance, the space where
I was standing, the dazed fluorescence of his hospital room
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

America, I Sing Back

By Allison Adelle Hedge Coke America, I sing back. Sing back what sung you in.
Sing back the moment you cherished breath.
Sing you home into yourself and back to reaso
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