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Alexis Smithers

[Untitled]

By 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.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Prayer for those who run

By Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha I wish you swift wind.
I wish you a changed phone number
that stays changed.
M. Soledad Caballero

Immigrant Confession

By 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.
Shira Erlichman

89 Lines on a Bruise

By Shira Erlichman The Former Poet Laureate of the United States
wrote an eighty-nine line poem about clouds & I

want to write about clouds but all I can see
is this bruise on the inside of my inner-elbow the needle left

when posing a question about my toxicity level.
Malik Thompson

Self-Portrait Of The Black Boi Becoming The Monster He Always Desired To Be

By Malik Thompson Midnight is my first emotion, then starscream, bloodlust—
an impulse to sink my fangs into the nearest man’s
neck. Shotgun shells explode beneath my window,
dragging me from the grip of a ragged slumber—
the winds of this rotting city drenched in gunsmoke.
Jasminne Mendez

Machete: Look

By Jasminne Mendez It isn’t easy / to look / at what I have / cut. Which is to say — / wounded / from the body / of a tree / or a woman / or a child.
Raymond Antrobus

On Teaching Poetry In A Men’s High Security Prison

By Raymond Antrobus I was searched at every edge. I wanted everyone, including me, to be innocent. One inmate squeezed my hand like a letter he’d been hoping for.
Kathi Wolfe

Celestial Navigation

By Kathi Wolfe “I am not used to blind poets,”
says the teacher, his Ray-Ban
sunglasses sliding off his nose,
“they’re flying in the dark,
landing who knows where,
right in your face,
in your hair – on your stairs.”
torrin a. greathouse

Anti-Ode for the Transportation Security Administration

By torrin a. greathouse The body scanner says my name & my flesh are suspicious
abandoned baggage. A voice on the loudspeaker says to report
any & all unaccompanied luggage it could contain anything.
Clothes, or drugs, or a body folded economically. Utilitarian
origami. Voice on the speaker says trust no one, says anything
could be a threat.
heidi andrea restrepo rhodes

After all references to transgender Americans are scrubbed from government websites…

By heidi andrea restrepo rhodes for you are made of light & flesh, voice & shimmer
no amount of scrubbing will eliminate the shine, you

luminesce, your tired heart
lingers in the dusky dawn liminal, blue

is the color of your name, a shade
in view now, harnessed in the eye centuries
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