I fold in half

by Aisha Sasha John

Documents destined for the shredder.

I leave flat the ones to be scanned into patient charts.

I consider how long stickers have rested on the glass
Protecting me from potential
Disease and violence
Of the people.

The first time I came here I was late, I was scolded
I was bleeding
I barely even cared
Fuck, look:
When I start to bleed
I have to eat

The Rez Sisters II

by Billy-Ray Belcourt

girl of surplus. girl who is made from fragments. she who can only
be spoken of by way of synecdoche. she whose name cannot be
enunciated only mouthed.

mother of that which cannot be mothered. mother who wants
nothing and everything at the same time. she who gave birth to
herself three times: 1. the miscarriage. 2. the shrunken world.
3.the aftermath.

sister of forest fire. sister who dwells in the wreckage. she who forages
for the right things in the wrong places. nothing is utopia and so she
prays to a god for a back that can bend like a tree splitting open to
make room for the heat.

aunt of the sovereignty of dust. aunt of that which cannot be
negated entirely. she who is magic because she goes missing and
comes back. she who walks upside down on the ceiling of the
world and does not fall.

kookum of love in spite of it all. kookum who made a man out of
a memory. she who is a country unto herself.

father of ash. father of a past without a mouth. he who ate too much
of the sunset.

Hard Child

by Natalie Shapero

So I had two lists of names for a girl, so
what. The president’s allowed to
have two speeches, in case the hostage
comes home in a bag. The geese
in the metropark don’t want
for bread crumbs, despite the signs
proclaiming the land provides them all
they need. I was a hard child, by which
I mean I was callous from the start.
Even now, were I to find myself after
a grand disease or blast, among the pasty
scattering of survivors, there isn’t one
human tradition I would choose to carry
forward. Not marking feast days, not
assembling roadside shrines, not marrying
up, not researching the colloquialism
representing paste pearls as the real
things, not recounting how the advent
of photography altered painting,
soured us on the acrylic portrait, thrust us
toward the abstract, sent us seeking
to capture in oil that which film would
never be wasted on: umbrella stands,
unlovely grates, assorted drains, body casts.
I typically hate discussing the past
and treasure the option, rarer and rarer,
to turn from it, as when K’s twins
were born and one of them
nearly died — I don’t remember which,
that’s how much they got better.

from Vaporative

by Layli Long Soldier

However a light may come
through vaporative
glass pane or dry dermis
of hand winter bent
I follow that light
capacity that I have
cup-sized capture
snap-like seizure I
remember small
is less to forget
less to carry
tiny gears mini-
armature I gun
the spark light
I blink eye blink
at me to look
at me in
light eye
look twice
and I eye

Epistolary Correspondences

by Susan Howe

Before I was sent to Little Sir Echo I had an imaginary friend who lived in our Buffalo mailbox. His name was Mr. Bickle. When we moved to Cambridge he vanished as transitional objects tend to do although his name lives on as a family anecdote.

     Strange that one half-suffocated picnic in the course of life can disappear into Lake Armington’s hanging rock echo portals. Until the replication of love prevails in art and Periscope – one of Paul Thek’s late “picture-light” paintings, bubbles up from puddle blue depths

     So many things happen by bringing to light what has long been hidden. Lilting betwixt and between. Between what? Oh everything. Take your microphone. Cross your voice with the ocean.
     I’m here, I’m still American

from Heaven Is All Goodbyes

by Tongo Eisen-Martin

Father’s ashes on the back seat behind two sons

In a lane not for metaphor
Well, maybe a metaphor about something unfinished
-One million hands passing us through the Midwest

Last wishes by way of fishtail / Day dreams by way of collision /
   Home in the badlands of translation / Relaxed passing / Great
   grandparents’ finger bones / Father’s ashes / No longer arms /
   Just tattoos

Badlands imagination
A father’s last trip home

We don’t know what else we good at besides this traveling

Exits in collage / Exits in pieces / Pieces of 1970s kitchen plates /
   In a good luck refrigerator / We still ain’t ate / The narcotic
   swing of how we see yesterday

Get out of the car against desperate white supremacy


by Jordan Abel

he heard snatches of comment
going up from the river bank

all them injuns is people first
and besides for this buckskin

why we even shoot at them
and seems like a sign of warm

dead as a horse friendship
and time to pedal their eyes

to lean out and say the truth3
all you injuns is just white keys

The Fable of the Open Book

by Don Paterson

Once upon a time there was a book.
The book lay open to a page. The page
had a margin, and they shared a dirty look –
though the truth is they were practically engaged.
The page said roughly what it thought it should,
the margin said exactly what it wanted,
and all was grand. But one thing spoiled the mood
of the wee verge. ‘I’m so squished and tiny-fonted!
Why the hell should that guy hog the floor?
I’ll shove that silly bigmouth out the door!’
And soon the page was lying in the gutter.
Now it could weep and wail, and spit and splutter!
‘Time,’ the margin cried, ‘to make my mark!’
And suddenly it went completely dark.

First Flowers

by Hoa Nguyen

Wasps out of the birdhouse
for spring     my boys shook
    out the dead wasps

New fly west
New fly west

for spring? To sip it?
Little gatherings of birds

Why does this feel like weeping?

My friends     we love

It is two kinds of lost
that I’m lost in

On Clear Nights

by Suzanne Buffam

At most two thousand stars
Can be seen with the naked eye from earth.

A difficult number to grapple with,
Too large and, on the other hand, too small.

A simple mathematical equation
May throw the problem into relief.

Consider a battlefield.
The fighting has ended

And the bodies lie still in the grass.
How many dead soldiers

Equal the sky overhead?