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“Anxious as seaweed, over the sides of the ships / creep hordes of trembling locators.” In this poem of seeking, Sumita Chakraborty summons ghosts and summons, too, words and weight crushing enough to pin them down.

For Lynn, At Lake Nockamixon

“How is it we can go through / Our lives without being routed or sent // To madness,” asks Ernest Hilbert in this measured poem of gaping loss, “wild with all we want, / And filled to vastness with all we view?”

Greenwood Cemetery

“I am trying to tell you in a foreign language / What everybody knows at home,” explains Destiny Birdsong. “I may well have been a worthless / Child, but my mother kept it to herself.” Out of violence and loneliness, in a sequence of elegies, she writes toward a place to belong.

Brooklyn Antediluvian

“Look how far / a name can travel, borne by a brown body,” writes Patrick Rosal, weaving family history, far-flung places, word origins, new myths, enduring injustice, hunger, streets, and relentless blossoming. “The horses snorted down from the hills’ / crests with no one but her to witness // how a steed mid-gallop flops over so fast / and so hard it opens like a rose.”

Sing Sing

Tired of prison, a failed muse tries to draft a letter of apology to her parole board. “For the record,” she writes, “I never was a god. I am / spirit same as you, / moving body to body / through the years.” By Tomás Q. Morín.

Eight Lo-Fis

“I believe in Music, / maker of all that, though / never quite, is as that / which was should have been.” H.L. Hix‘s Lo-Fis loop “what does not happen there” and what did not happen here, making much of what’s not quite.

He Would Always Love Painting More

“Don’t explain. It was an honor // to have been your goat, small / brained and hungry, your wind // advertising all it touched.” A beautiful new poem of art, love, and insufficiency from Jenny Browne.

Familiar Stranger

“Sliced in half, / I hold this rolling sound, / this heart shaking off / its hinges,” Jane Wong writes, shuffling, arranging, seeking connections. “The small heat of my arm nestles / in among the pines.”

Natural History

“We are in a great dying,” Robin Beth Schaer writes to her infant son, pulled by love for him into the the history of a world in decline. “Intricacies / of milk and sleep dismantle me. I empty / myself into you, hollowing by the ounce. // There are seven white rhinos when you are born. / A year later, six.”

Two Movies

“look at what the lord has made. / above Missouri, sweet smoke.” Danez Smith scripts heartbreaking films of racism, violence, anger, grief, endurance, and love, concluding, “I believe when a person dies / the black lives on.”