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The Demon Arm by Alice Pow

Ginette took from the dryer a big hoodie, a pair of sweatpants, and a pair of fluffy socks. She dressed and returned to her room where papers and clothing decorated the floor and her dresser. After moving a pile of books from bed to floor, she crawled under the covers.

Cold corrupted the Chicago streets outside her home. Thermal capital passed from feet to cold, contracted wooden floors, and the vacuum of Chicago winter stole that drop of warmth from the broken-heater house.

Awake but absent from her head, she kept quiet, squeezing eyes shut, squeezing herself into a ball of heat under blankets.

She found a bruise of unknown origin on her left shoulder muscle. She poked the raw spot with her index and middle finger; flesh stung and pressed against bone. Continue reading “The Demon Arm by Alice Pow”

Driving in the Berkshires by Elizabeth Mitchell

August 2004

Mom, you point out the white steeple and green valley below us to our right. I take in the soft dreamy clouds and calm blue of sky, as we drive around a curve in the mountain. Lush foliage surrounds us. Our windows are low to let in the wind.

My sleeves are rolled to elbows, dressed in my favorite shirt of light blue and burgundy. My hair is newly twisted in curls, twists I plaited during the 10 hour drive. Later today, I will take a picture in this shirt. The smiling face that more than a decade later remains on my yellow college id. Continue reading “Driving in the Berkshires by Elizabeth Mitchell”

9AM in the Morning by A.E. Nelson

I’d started smoking cigarettes again. My teeth were yellowing. My breath stank. I was having more sex, doing more coke, running faster on the treadmill, and making more money than ever before. In short, I was depressed and doing well.

Sibo, the other woman I loved, was done with me. She told me I had snatched her from the world, changed her, held her up for seven months, and tried to give her back. I told her she had changed me too, made me different, made me shiny under the grime. She couldn’t see it. She started dating a divorced banker who wanted a mother for his daughter. It was a waste of her time. I knew she wouldn’t love him because she wasn’t done loving me. And I knew how she loved, black and white, with both feet in, her mind, her soul, her body, all of it reserved for that one person. More than that, I knew who she loved: boys like me, erratic and needy, like her daddy whose hand she had held on his deathbed when she was twelve. Still, I barely slept. Continue reading “9AM in the Morning by A.E. Nelson”

2 Poems by Shakeema Smalls

rape kit

“(The hung juror) said no one was hurt and that it would be different if the victim were found in the river with her throat slit,” (Morgan Myers, Sun Gazette, November 6th, 2013)

FIND:

hysterectomy, or
annulment
camel toe. menthols.
kool moe dee sweatshirt
lap scarf
cover charge for The Scars He Left On Your Uterus.
1 nite. lost lighter.
the, ”Guide to Negro Phonetics for Public Defenders.” Continue reading “2 Poems by Shakeema Smalls”