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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
Sonia Sanchez

Aaaayeee Babo (Praise God)

By Sonia Sanchez There are women sailing the sky
I walk between them
They who wear silk, muslin and burlap skins touching mine
They who dance between urine and violets
Saida Agostini

2 fat black women are making love

By Saida Agostini and the joke is right there, ready, shuddering
and alive - rife with promise. there are so many
paths that have been worn out for a quick
easy laugh: tyler perry strutting with a gun and wig,
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—
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.
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

Water & Salt

By Lena Khalaf Tuffaha Behind the walls of your jails we wait
heartbeats audible now, muffled thuds
above the current of blood running thin
Amanda Gorman

In This Place (An American Lyric)

By Amanda Gorman There’s a poem in this place—
in the footfalls in the halls
in the quiet beat of the seats.
It is here, at the curtain of day,
Camisha Jones

My Hair Starts the Revolution

By Camisha Jones What you know bout ballin'
your every fiber into a tight fist,
letting the naps of history
that birthed you unfurl
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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