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Hari Alluri

Clarification Card: The Spiral (“The cigarette is pretext: smoke rises from within”)

By Hari Alluri Unless you’re practiced as a lola’s wrinkles,
do not flip the lit side of the yosi in your mouth.
They developed this skill in war and carried it
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.
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