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Alexis Smithers Standing in line, waiting to go into the Library of Congress
a black woman stands two people ahead of me and
a white security guard says to her,
It’s a beautiful day.
Azura Tyabji If the meaning of the prayer was not passed down to you,
find it through holier means than translation.
Cling to the rhythm instead.
Maren Lovey Wright-Kerr when the makeup aisle stops at “caramel”
the makeup industry just thinks you already too pretty to need they products
Kimberly Blaeser Yes, it’s true I speak ill of the living
in coded ways divorced from the dead.
Why Lyla June fasts on capitol steps.
Kyle Dargan “Man-law” I first violate at age ten—
my wandering fingers not appeased by picking
through my cousin’s video
game cartridges, Sports Illustrateds.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha I wish you swift wind.
I wish you a changed phone number
that stays changed.
Mahogany L. Browne Instead
Make it a cup of coffee
The espresso percolator wheezing on
The biggest eye
On the stove
M. Kamara And a white person says racism is dead
and a white person jokes about slavery
and a white person lives unbothered
and a white person screams about immigrants
M. Soledad Caballero The Cherokee are not originally from Oklahoma. Settlers forced
them to disappear west, into air and sky, beyond buildings,
beyond concrete, beyond the rabid land hunger. There was
a trail. There was despair. Reservations carved out of prairie
grass, lost space and sadness in the middle of flat dirt.
Justice Ameer / he asks me how it feels /
it’s no simple curiosity
nor a question without consequence
phantom of longing lingers so
subtly on the last syllable