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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—
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;
Claire Hermann

Dominion

By Claire Hermann God separated the light from the darkness,
but I have a light switch.
Once there was morning and evening,
but now someone has torn the heart out of a mountain,
Rajiv Mohabir

Outcry

By Rajiv Mohabir A twist of cotton
daubed in oil
catches flame, an echo
Nesha Ruther

L’Chaim

By Nesha Ruther L’chaim to my rabbi who gets red in the face during prayer
and sings off-tune
we can always hear him.
Purvi Shah

Saraswati praises your name even when you have no choice

By Purvi Shah You had a name no one
could hold between their
teeth. So they pronounced
Anastacia-Renee

Cedar

By Anastacia-Renee the cedar tree could not comprehend
the crime could not comprehend a leaning
a lynching a love gone wrong
Ellen Kombiyil

Deported

By Ellen Kombiyil We are on the plane now
crossing ocean. The pressurized
air is sweet not stale never
stale, the cabin set for
Kaveh Akbar

Do You Speak Persian?

By Kaveh Akbar Some days we can see Venus in mid-afternoon. Then at night, stars
separated by billions of miles, light travelling years
to die in the back of an eye.
Linda Hogan

Eagle Feather Prayer

By Linda Hogan I thank the eagle and Old Mother for this prayer
I send to earth and sky
and the sacred waters. I thank Old Mother
and the golden eagle, the two who taught me to pray
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