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Chrysanthemum

Alias

By Chrysanthemum Scheduling a follow-up with my PCP, I prepare
for disaster. Inevitable as flood, I hush a moniker
kept in confidence, wager my informed consent

for a Hancock granting passage. Gates are flimsy
metaphors. It’s more of a worn-down levee, dike
ready to burst without notice.
Johnson Cheu

Becky Declines Barbie’s Dinner Invitation

By Johnson Cheu I should have figured as much.
After all, it took over thirty years
to realize Barbie’s Malibu
convertible isn’t accident-proof.
Moncho Alvarado

Dear Hermano

By Moncho Alvarado Again people are being taken away,
I read the news of kids
like your daughter & son,
like our family, our neighbors,

they wake in a state of temporary,
that lasts longer & longer &
longer than we can remember.
Kay Ulanday Barrett

How to make salabat

By Kay Ulanday Barrett Hoy! Listen, This is how to cut ginger, it’s a root, she said from
Chicago basement on first snow of the year. It’s the 90’s. Snow is
a big deal. Tear salt missing ocean salt, she cleared her throat.
Based on where we’re from, nothing can prepare us for frozen.
Fast forward: college friend asks How do you make that tea again?
The one you used to drink when it started to snow.
Dare Williams

Thirteen Meeting My Father For The First and Last Time

By Dare Williams At the Best Western, he arrived in a Ford
with its burned-out back. We spent the day
driving while he pointed at ruins
of cars gutted on the dead lawns.
Khadijah Queen

Since the pandemic is over

By Khadijah Queen Let’s skip past the facts, uncounted
deaths, pretend the seas of free faces soothe &
vaccines can protect us, you, me, my loves, stuck home
since early 2020, but I saw the slide
happening sooner, got sick mid-fall
2019 on the plane home from London, locked myself in
my cold bedroom so no one else would suffer,
held my sick breath under blankets &
heated ginger & honey & lemon & garlic &
clove & cayenne concoctions on the stove for six days.
Recovery took the rest of October & November too
but I kept my family well & since the pandemic is
over, I’m often the only masked one
left in any room
Walela Nehanda

Stem Cell Transplant as Chimera

By Walela Nehanda I am run ragged by another woman’s
immunity transplanted inside me.
I am not myself on a cellular level.
Somewhere, in my biology.
I am in Greece. I am a good woman.
Thirty five and Santorini chic.
Rose Zinnia

(Reassignment)

By Rose Zinnia a trick
of light
a sleight
of hand
a contused
grammar
Suzi F. Garcia

Emotional Wasteland

By Suzi F. Garcia It is April now, with its mix of sweet and snow. I stand barefoot on an apartment patio to vape. My toes curl on themselves to fight off the cold and my legs shake under my leggings. I have been drugged officially and unofficially, some would say gone, but I can feel light in my hips as they sway to the song I’m playing in my head.
KB Brookins

Love Machine

By KB Brookins All this time I thought we needed permission
to dance. Flap our imaginary wings. Schlep
sweat on our foreheads while making up moves
in every dance scene. My people are good at
dreaming up new grooves in the time it takes
one foot to pick itself up on the soul train.
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