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Safia Elhillo

from GIRLS THAT NEVER DIE

By Safia Elhillo i was invented by them the women
steamed & sweating in the kitchen
soft bellies a memory of money
fallen princesses headdressed in rollers
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.
Elana Bell

Miracle

By Elana Bell What else to call the way the bare branches
I’d bought at the neighborhood bodega
came back to life that winter.
Reginald Dwayne Betts

Elegy Ending With a Cell Door Closing

By Reginald Dwayne Betts & the Judge told him to count
The trees in the parking lot
Where there were only cars: Zero
The same number of stars
You could see on a night in the city.
H. Melt

Every Day Is A Trans Day

By H. Melt Whether it’s raining
or snowing, midnight or
you’re awaking from a nap,
working an eight hour shift
or watching reruns,
Brandon Douglas

Deadlocked

By Brandon Douglas Scrolling thru my newsfeed
I saw a snapshot of a klansman with dreadlocks
It baffles me
How loud the white obsession is with blackness
Reuben Jackson

Kelly Recalls 1963

By Reuben Jackson I still call
The year 1963
Season of Nightmares
After Medgar Evers
Was killed I
Would lie awake
And wait for
My uncle Joe
To get home
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.
Jonathan Mendoza

Onomástico

By Jonathan Mendoza You ask me for my name,
and I say, “It’s pronounced Mendoza,”
and again, the Spaniard spits it out my throat,
pats me on the tongue,
tells me I have been a good subject,
and again, I have traded this empire
for my former one.
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