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Robin Gow

Chasing Helicopters on the Way Home from a Bowl of Spaghetti

By Robin Gow Someone I love is turning into an asterisk
and so I am running and the vultures are
as hungry as they’ve ever been. The size of genders.
The size of fatherhoods.
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.
Tonee Mae Moll

Burning Haibun as Portrait: 9 months on HRT, Georgia on MS Word

By Tonee Mae Moll The font, not the nation, nor the southern state where lawmakers are folding the idea of the monster of my body into votes from folks whose homes they know are marked for flooding. I suppose I mean typeface—I’m supposed to remember the difference— like all exquisite things, we’ve got this etymology that feels apocryphal anyway. Anyway, let’s suppose I am a transitional shape.
Opal Moore

Spring Mix, for Ahmaud

By Opal Moore A small bird built a secret nest
beneath my balcony. There must be
hatchlings there, out of view.
She flies back and forth, small prey
in her beak.

Some kind of wren, I think.
Small, brown and quick. No time for
singing midday. Duty
is her instinct.
Jada Renée Allen

To Love Somebody

By Jada Renée Allen There’s a light, a certain
kind of light that has never
shone on me—
Nina’s version.
Not the Bee Gees
or even Janis Joplin,

but the way Nina
sings it, almost a plea.
Joanna Acevedo

Training Wheels

By Joanna Acevedo “I just wanted to check in with you about your friend who passed,” my therapist says at the end of our session. “Yeah, he’s still dead,” I quip. We share a long laugh.
Sasa Aakil

Black Mermaids and Swimming and Red Hair and Ancestry

By Sasa Aakil They say, Ariel could never be black.
That black folks don't have red hair and can't swim no how.
They list all the reasons we have no right to this title
and I can only think of Hasan.

Brown skin boy with hair red as fire.
Quick wit, quick smile.
Born with sunset resting atop his head like crown.
Jose Hernandez Diaz

Ode to My Older Sister, Letty, for Being the First in the Family to Go to College

By Jose Hernandez Diaz I’m not sure if you knew it at the time, but you showed us, your younger siblings,
A great example. Maybe you were just happy going away to college,

Away from the responsibilities of watching over younger siblings all the time,
But I always remembered having pride when I’d tell people my sister

Is an English major and even more so when you became a teacher.
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.
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