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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.
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.
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.
Gbenga Adesina

PARADISE

By Gbenga Adesina North of the country, a road led to the desert.
Dust was the first sentence. The Sahara
was a white darkness in the distance,
and beyond it the glint of a Great Lake.
We drove past fields of ginger and wild purple onions.
There was a public garden and a ring of white egrets
around still water.
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.
Sacha Marvin Hodges

billie holiday, handcuffed to her deathbed

By Sacha Marvin Hodges I have a fear
so metal
it makes traffic
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]
antmen pimentel mendoza

A Stroll Through the Museum of My Gender Ending with a Minor Capitulation to Commodity Fetishism

By antmen pimentel mendoza The memory palace has an all gender bathroom
and I’m not the middle figure in the half-skirt,
half-pants chimera outfit, but I do like to piss

in a single-stall situation. On the couch
is the heavy blanket that kept me Catholic. Going
up the stairs is an act of poise and in the kitchen

is a lemon, wedged and pledged. Under the bed
is the laser printed felt, the earrings I drew
onto my lobes and my cheeks flush, burning.
Walela Nehanda

Stem Cell Transplant as Chimera

By Walela Nehanda I am run ragged by another woman’s
immunity transplanted inside me.
I am not myself on a cellular level.
Somewhere, in my biology.
I am in Greece. I am a good woman.
Thirty five and Santorini chic.
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
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