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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.
Ghinwa Jawhari

the butcher

By Ghinwa Jawhari who loved my mother owned a shop on almira street & hung
among the glamorous posters of arabic singers, a black-and-white
photograph of muhammad al-durrah’s murder.
Samah Serour Fadil

prongs into the nation

By Samah Serour Fadil it’s never enough to simply exist as humans
lands get involved
between folds of skin & folds of a bill
it’s funny how money changes situations
twists straight roads ahead to fit lie into truth
Jessica Abughattas

Litany for My Father

By Jessica Abughattas Because 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
Sahar Muradi

What Fell, and Other Ways of Seeing August 15th

By Sahar Muradi K says what fell?
R says prices have shot up
I says our people did not fall
M says we have so much more to lose if we leave
R says the gardens are still awash in green
N says he was arrested
S says he is still dubbing films, just quietly
R says a mother sits in the road shrieking at every passing car
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
Lara Atallah

meat market

By Lara Atallah after Lebanon, a country with one of the worst economic crises since the nineteenth century

the price of bread has gone up again. throngs of cars
slouch towards shuttering gas stations. the currency, a farce

with each swing of the gavel, numbers
soar. fifty thousand pounds by day’s end,

what’s another ten thousand? or a hundred thousand?
a hundred and forty thousand pounds to the dollar?
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.
Sunu P. Chandy

Impulse Buys

By Sunu P. Chandy At the shiny stones and rocks booth, I am unusually patient. I even consider spending a few dollars on a few pebbles. She seemed to sense that, without me saying a word, and I could feel her heart smile.

And then in one instant, everything changed. Looking toward the cashier, she saw, just hanging out there on the wall, real guns in real life.

Karla Cordero

A Conversation With Siri About Death

By Karla Cordero i watch slasher movies but hate the sight of real blood leave the body

i panic on planes & think of ways the machine or sky

will betray me i read books in fear to evaporate

out of this world without seeing its soft hands
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