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Arumandhira Howard

Soft Black Girl Aesthetic

By Arumandhira Howard We are made shy / sun, kissing another heartless / night awake. We are made satin silking / pompon locs. Cotton, banana pudding, baby’s / breath. These cornbread thighs, our blessed butterfly / knives. We are made to de-stem hardened men like bull-headed / bougainvillea.
Amatan Noor

After Hours at the Garment Factory

By Amatan Noor Let’s inhale some fresh air
Its botanical river wafting into our nostrils
Alas, the sky has been seething crimson
for half a century
Sarah Audsley

Homegoing

By Sarah Audsley You will return to the temple, swept clean,
tea sprouting in rows, clappers of bells ringing out
as incense burn at the foot of the golden Buddha.
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.
Sahar Muradi

What Fell, and Other Ways of Seeing August 15th

By Sahar Muradi K says what fell?
R says prices have shot up
I says our people did not fall
M says we have so much more to lose if we leave
R says the gardens are still awash in green
N says he was arrested
S says he is still dubbing films, just quietly
R says a mother sits in the road shrieking at every passing car
Adeeba Shahid Talukder

Mehfil

By Adeeba Shahid Talukder Tonight,
the beloved ascends
the rungs of stars;

seated on a mirrored
cushion, she is both spectacle
and witness,

both of the mehfil
and its all-seeing god.
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.
Indran Amirthanayagam

The Days After

By Indran Amirthanayagam I have not had a drink in ten
days, I declared to my close
friends, spilling the news
as well to a fellow passenger

on the bus, and earlier to birds
I greeted as I sauntered off into
the day with a constitutional
by the graves.
River 瑩瑩 Dandelion

Sometimes Oral History Comes Off Recorder as Poem or, Birth Story

By River 瑩瑩 Dandelion my mother mimics her body
stick bug straight
arms plastered to side

[i was in labor for three days
in a hospital bed in Brooklyn
the lighting was harsh for your eyes]
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