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From Tracy K. Smith

August 21, 2019

I love you in the water
Where they pretended to wade,
Singing that old blood-deep song
That dragged us to those banks
And cast us in. I love you,
The angles of it scraping at
Each throat, shouldering past
The swirling dust motes
In those beams of light
That whatever we now knew
We could let ourselves feel, knew
To climb.

– Wade in the Water


From Megan Merchant:

August 18, 2019

Vacancy is not an adequate splint for love. I was told to treasure
the red dust that grained in my hair and ears, the phantom
rain, the flat-earthers who gathered and measured the arc of sunset—
the shape of the world is as good of a religion as any,
but my god, have you heard the panged-song of coyotes, their
voice-wound loud, not afraid to tremble, not stomping
to smooth the cracks, or pausing in the open long enough
to pull the yucca spines from their skin.

The Years We Lived in the Desert

From Sarah Colona:

July 14, 2019

That anatomy, its bony plates and antibiotic blood, insures resilience.
We armor ourselves similarly, collect our epithets like gems. Ending

any story is a challenge: one sees grit within the grifter. Another purls
thundercloud to thundercloud just to survive. I’ve known many Sarahs
who wear their genesis with indifference.

From One Sarah to Another

From Cheryl Clarke:

July 11, 2019

I don’t do well with
expectation. Come up
here if it’s too cool a
story below with your
windows cracked.
Higher is warmer
in this last,

Brief Interval

From Mahtem Shiferraw:

July 8, 2019

these trees, blood-free and bone-dry
have come to rescue me more than once,

but my saving often requires hiding
yet they stand so tall, so slim and gluttonous

refusing to contain me; even baobab trees
will split open at my command, and

carve out fleshless wombs to welcome me.
I must fall out of love of the world

without me in it, but my loves have
long gone

We, Made of Bone

From Rosebud Ben-Oni:

July 5, 2019

Matarose never comes home
She’s hungry like a wolf
She’s rosa de mota in lacroix
all the girls hail on queens boulevard
All the views she’s killed
in the name of iman
& yasmin le bon
Mata’s quite meta
Mata means kill
Rose a curve
from the real meat of it all

Matarose Tags G-Dragon on the 7

From Zubair Ahmed:

July 2, 2019

I love my body and this world!
Such a declaration
five years ago
would’ve driven me insane.

But now an appreciation arrives
with a fine taste of sulfur
and anywhere I look is born
a rose.

Red with a Touch of Sulfur

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