By Roya Marshcups, plates, scattered
spaghetti massacre on laps.
all the restaurant alert
&this ga'damn tv
sayin' WE lost!
white girls vanish
the whole world grit they teeth,
but a black girl's disappearance
warrants city wide curfews;
a second silencing
60 black girls ghost //
in the nation's capital
&my phone never rang about it!
By River 瑩瑩 Dandelionmy 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]
By Khadijah QueenLet’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
By Arao Amenyin this other world
Amadou Diallo pulls out his wallet
41 bullets from three policemen recede back
into their guns like water on the coast of Guinea that crawls
and runs back to the Atlantic Ocean
each salty drop mouths a bullet and eats it whole
little fires disappear
bullets are now bubbles dancing near the mouths of fish
By Saúl HernándezThe day Amá stopped driving, her curls became undone,
her red manicure turned pastel pink, her throat lost the sound left in it—
when a car slammed into her, pushing it towards train tracks.
The wheels of her white Oldsmobile clenched to the tracks the way a jaw latches
on to a bite.
By Suzi F. GarciaIt 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.
By TC TolbertIn someone else’s home, 2018 February 08,
you are sitting in front of a considerable yellow mirror. Carved
into the frame of the mirror are flowers, the leaves
of which, were they solo, could be mistaken for thumb
-nails lined up at a salon waiting for the arrival of the hands
to which they should be attached. There are fish underwater
above you trying to tell the night what is coming.
By Gisselle YepesAnd in twenty-five days, we make a year without
Tio Freddy alive, without his flesh inhaling
cigarettes or bud once filled with wind
like that winter after Wela died, the only winter
we got with him here, we walked
every time we linked
downstairs to smoke, to watch the trees
mirror our empty.
By Porsha Olayiwoladry land ain't never been for black folk
the earth taketh away, swallowing who
it knows to be a grieving thing- whom else
incites a fire, ignites a riot— a billy-club
built— a man from dust.
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