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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.
Rena Priest

Basket Lady and Greater Evils

By Rena Priest We tell our children stories
to keep them by our side:
Basket lady will get you.
She’ll put you in her basket
and carry you away,
deep into the forest
Roya Marsh

i flipped a table once.

By Roya Marsh cups, 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!
Sharon Bridgforth

dat Black Mermaid Man Lady/dem Blessings #34

By Sharon Bridgforth Remember.

You were wild
and you were free
and you felt unloved
and unseen
and you ran the streets
and you Loved hard
and you were Loved deeply
Rose Zinnia

(Reassignment)

By Rose Zinnia a trick
of light
a sleight
of hand
a contused
grammar
Suzi F. Garcia

Emotional Wasteland

By Suzi F. Garcia It 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.
Porsha Olayiwola

Rodney King Mistakes The Deep End Of His Swimming Pool For The Atlantic [...]

By Porsha Olayiwola dry 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.
Justice Ameer

we all gotta eat.

By Justice Ameer even ants go to war.
been thinking about it all summer, what it means…
i mean how human. or maybe how ant.
maybe nature begets violence because we all gotta eat.
emet ezell

WALKING ON WATER

By emet ezell i bought her a shitty ass chicken sandwich.
$18.59 and dripping with oil—
my grandmother. she blessed
the meal for ten minutes before
taking a bite. poured out devotion like
gasoline. like pepsi cola. we knew then
that she was dying, but i lived
in the first paragraph, unprepared.
Maya Marshall

Everyday

By Maya Marshall Today’s nothing fancy: my mother lives,
a simple pleasure. My cat made biscuits
on my knee. A woman I desire,
giggled with me, invited me to touch
a whale. I fell for a man I barely know,
his delicious disdain, his persistent smile,
flaking skin and mane.
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