Category: 18.1

  • The Brain in Five Acts

    by Tracey Lynn Lloyd I.My brain is a marvel. A team of psychologists at St. John’s University makes an appointment to marvel at my brain. Dr. Curlie, PhD, doesn’t want to test me because Black children don’t score well on IQ tests, meaning that we don’t have high IQs? “Do it anyway,” my mother says through clenched […]

  • The Inscrutable Illness of Things

    by Satya Dash My grandmother often in bouts of angerturned stone pink in silence, quietlyremarking: it’s impossible to silencesilence. It took me years to understandmy awe for the way she could deal a nounits own verb. I think about the last yearsshe spent paralyzed, a body washed slowby warm cods of light, preparing for deaththe […]

  • Elegy: to the boys of before

    by Marie Baléo After nailing a dead rose to the wall, she puts down her hammerand wrings her hands, shipwrecked; speaks of her father,how he once shot a boy in the head. The child had seen whathe shouldn’t have, she says. He was bound to betray them, menof the maquis who spent nights scheming by […]

  • Days of Candy

    by Caleb Nichols Of course the oranges you picked tasted like candy.I tasted them days later,days later thought of you,how we wrote the new moon,spoke it; how the fire refusedto be put out. A green flame—boron burning you said,a green flame, then blue,how does a blue flame taste?How the sky tastes at sunset—softpinks, orange creams—the […]

  • A Bedtime Story about the Heart

    by Laura Villareal             The only thing sensible about the heart is its                         shoes. When the heart is sent away from                        home                        it only takes a small brown suitcase filled with air— the reason is unclear, but like I said, the only thing sensible            about the heart is its little white sneakers. Every heart starts                        out like this—with pristine shoes […]

  • Rain teaches us

    by Aleš Šteger, translated by Brian Henry Rain teaches us:Don’t search, place yourself in the rain. It teaches us, rain, how to scatterThe clouds inside us.For whom does it rain from a clear sky? Rain tells us:Every correction is a detour.They are only approximations of large storms. It secretly confided in me:For others, I will […]

  • Mail-Order Groom

    by Lisa Low            after Ali Wong I flip through a catalog           of mail-order grooms. I want one from a colonizing           country, the whiter the better. I want the hair & disposition           of a golden retriever. I want money sprouting from his follicles           like Rapunzel. I want him strong & soft as a rope of hair. Like toilet           paper. I want his last name changed to […]

  • Exegesis on a Chicken Wing

    by Quintin Collins Pull apart the fleshbetween drumette, wingette.Rip and tear the meat with your teeth and fingers,cheeks greasy if you eatchicken wings the right way. From end to end,a linear timelineof fat, gristle, skin as you stretch the wingstraight. The spanfrom the ax to the chicken’s neck —we expect no bloodin the pan of wings from Sharks,no reminder […]

  • black as: portal

    by Kemi Alabi and even their pitch was a fever became essential             shouts  we can live on a bill the bodyowes for our magic     all living     would fall apart without    our Black     greasing the way between                                         home and              home           grief      our thickwater spirit                       vision double               shifts Black                         motherblue                                 back home Kemi […]

  • black as: wound

    by Kemi Alabi Not all of us survived. Grief came home, back to our throats, our lungs. Grief been Black—blue Black. Tires-bald-between-work-and-home Black. Monday-through-Sunday-double-shifts Black. Asked about those visions—if spirits still slicked my mother’s sleep—and she said she’s too tired to dream. Too-tired-to-see-nothing-but Black. Grief came home, to our lead-thick water, our Big-Mac-breakfast-greasing-the-way-between-work-and-home-and-work-and-home Black. Begged […]