White Paths by Car’ynn Sims (Vol. 6 2017)

I was born in Pasadena in

1997. The youngest of 3,

I was bound to be spoiled and

coiled to tick in the right 

direction. That is the path

carved by those ahead,

decisions brought before

the questions. (well, don’t

they know I got my own

knife? And a thinker just as

sharp?)—still I was raised

in the white, nuh-uh I mean,

right light, and my momma

would be proud. My hair

was silky soft and down to

my ass, with a lovely

bounce and sheen like

glass. I spoke with the

diction of an Oreo. (Or was it a Dalmatia?) So

polished there were mo

chips that could expose the

Black beneath. Double,

triple coat, just to be safe.

This way, when I walked in the room it would be my

mind they held me by,

without the distraction of

my cocoa hue.

 

Once they knew, it’d be too

much too forget. Surely a

thing I’d learn to regret, if I

find myself screaming “I

know my rights,” only to

have them taken from me.

It is wiser to know nothing

—to be blind to the

massacre and step over the

cadavers, so that I may not

be thought weak for weeping a

tear for my lost brother.

Or father.

Or sister.

Or mother.

Pass me a handkerchief, so I

may wipe the blood from

the soles of my feet.

 

I have been steered in the

right direction.

 

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Harpers Ferry by Eli Louis Recht-Appel (Vol. 6 2017)

I know my names and namesakes

like cracked hands, hang nails, clear cuticles.

Wash my bed spread, shirts, socks–and heart sometimes—

so that ma would be proud

 

The Bather of Harpers Ferry marks the first bloodshed of the

bloodiest American war.

 

I went to Harper’s Ferry,

a town turned museum, a place turned artifice.

I know that people are sometimes just towns turned landmarks

 

so sometimes I feel like a settlement

Where Are You, Brooke? by Liya Cui (Vol. 6 2017)

I showed Brooke how to write her name in Mandarin

At lunch she gave me her string beans

At recess I made her a daisy chain

She told me she got a hundred dollars for eating ice cream

 

We caught lizards with our hands

And took secret baths together

And built a complicated handshake

Neither of us could remember

 

When Brooke cried under the bed

I didn’t know what to do

So I’d brush her hair back

And she’d get better soon

 

Then Brooke asked me to run away with her

Too afraid I said no where would we go

It didn’t matter she said

Just come

 

Sorry

There’s not much of a point to this

I just miss Brooke

Page 26: You Can Sleep When Ur Dead by Erica Brunner

You can sleep when you’re dead,

that’s what Prisilla told me.
I had no idea

where I was,
but I was at the Command Center
in Oakland
in a warehouse.
Sliding metal doors
blended into stained concrete.

Prisilla talked about
Gary Glitter, Slade,
the disco ball she owned,
how she couldn’t stop moving,
how every wardrobe
should be composed of
leather, lace, fringe, fur,
bones.

I was curled
on a mauve couch,
head rested on a cum stain.
The couch,
on a riser
next to a hot tub

out of commission
because of fungus.
The riser doubled
as a stage.

My bed, a stage.

Prisilla wanted me to stay awake
so she had someone to dance with.

My eyes, concrete.

Prisilla wanted me to stay awake
so she wouldn’t go back to Angel’s room.
His room, covered in mirrors.
Where sex became about you and the mirror.

From high ceilings dangled
green and blue planets,
televisions mounted to walls
played Star Trek episodes
none
synced to the others.

Angel covered me with a blanket
the scar on his upper lip
so deep,
he whispered,
how can I resist,
those eyes.

The water in the morning was cold.
There was a television covered
in plastic
in the shower.
I washed myself
and watched Star Trek.

Page 58: Shmushmortion by Daniela Bizzell

Shmushmortion by Daniela Bizzell

We called it a shmushmortion. Driving through brown, slush-lined roads, he joked about moving to Mexico. He joked that it wasn’t his. He joked that it would come out dark-skinned, lacking that pale-pink pigment so commonly found in the Swede. I joked that I would leave it on his doorstep and that I would fly to Mexico. I joked that if he made another joke I would punch him in the face. I joked that it would have beautiful eyes, unique, because both of our eyes were beautiful and unique. Except I wasn’t really joking. We both knew, when it came down to things, that he was broke, I was still in college, and if there ever came a time, I would have a shmuhshmortion.

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