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Nathan Spoon

The Republic of Tenderness

By Nathan Spoon You are living inside the cup of another life. Water
is running slowly. Somewhere a hand is overflowing
with the abundance and celebration denizens dream of.
Destiny Hemphill

we ask mama-n-em, “where is the motherworld?”

By Destiny Hemphill listen.

it’s in, not at. in the whistle & hiss, the steam of your breath as you chant
we ready (we ready), we comin (we comin) atop of a jail

building in ruins. yes, it’s in your breath & in the never dwindling
kindle of your fingertips as you reach out & touch
Noor Ibn Najam

يقبرني to bury me. you take your turn first

By Noor Ibn Najam to become earth’s sugar, to be a seedless
orange offered. to want fruit
to unwind from the concept of sex
Justice Ameer

t for t

By Justice Ameer / he asks me how it feels /
it’s no simple curiosity
nor a question without consequence
phantom of longing lingers so
subtly on the last syllable
Ching-In Chen

Lantern Letter: a Zuihitsu

By Ching-In Chen My people – I see you across street, porch people, huddled under brick archway, watching what pours from sky. Wading in water, what circuits it carries – mostly numb, small, what might feel like circuit’s end.
Gabriel Ramirez

Before going to the Barbershop

By Gabriel Ramirez I gotta call my barber Eric to
let him know I’m pullin’ up. Yo hello?
Yea yea who this? ahhhh yo what up homie?
How you been kid?
Baruch Porras-Hernandez

Ceremonias De La Superviviencia

By Baruch Porras-Hernandez at the movies my eye on the Exit sign
on the aisles the doorways the space
between the seat in front of me and my legs
how far could I crawl
before I die?
Arisa White

My Dead

By Arisa White Everybody she died another is dead everybody
dead and AIDS of AIDS my dead she is
there are more I know with the same story hiding
lips stitched hesitant to speak of someone you knew
Jessica Jacobs

In a Thicket of Body-Bent Grass

By Jessica Jacobs Arkansas is aspic with last-gasp summer, making running
like tunneling: the trail’s air a gelatin
of trapped trajectories.
Rasha Abdulhadi

Picking up Rocks

By Rasha Abdulhadi daughter of a palestinian that i am,
when i see a bloc of young people holding the street
it seems i was born with a rock in my hand
against a line of police in battle gear—
and i’ve found the world expects that’s who i am.
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