By Jessica AbughattasBecause curfews of
Because strip search at the checkpoint into
Because grandmother’s undergarments splayed on
Because two men with guns on the way to
Because grandmother saves plastic Coke liters to
Because the water could without notice be
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 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 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.
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