2 Poems | Lauren Yates

Dog Whistle Effect

Over dinner, she asks if I have ever been to Uncle Tom’s Taco Shop. “You mean Honest Tom’s?” It becomes painfully obvious that we are two women—one black, one white—on a date in a “Mexican” restaurant. I look at her pork belly banh mi tacos, my own shrimp tempura tacos with tom yum aioli. This neighborhood used to be affordable. Now the coffee shops sell vinyl and breakfast sandwiches with names like “The Notorious E.G.G.” Uncle Tom aside, she has asked me if I have been to a restaurant three blocks from my own house, as if I won’t pass it on the bus ride home. She eats her “Vietnamese-Mexican” tacos, calls herself an “activist.” A war cry only I can hear. Continue reading “2 Poems | Lauren Yates”

2 Poems | Olivia Libowitz

She Hems

Her long, bent fingers pull relentless. She holds the suede skirt
against her knees. “Everything you ever tear, bring to your Grandma.”

Grandma learned to knit outside Brookside coalmine, the men inside
the tunnels, bringing her worn slacks, and socks, and she obliged.

Obligingly she takes my split seams between arthritic knuckles
And mends them patiently, pausing to brush my hair before bed, a hundred times.

A hundred times she sat beneath the mountain, and toiled smoky hours
with a needle and thread, singing Jean Ritchie and sewing tarry trousers and cotton. Continue reading “2 Poems | Olivia Libowitz”

2 Poems | Amal Rana

the taste of freedom
(for my father, for all muslim fathers)

this morning a father sits in jail
I sit in the garden
this morning a father is put into solitary confinement
darkness his shroud before death
I lie back
bathe in the endlessness of blue skies
this morning a father is tortured with water
skin breaking over damaged bones from too much pressure
I turn on the garden hose
luxuriate in escaping sprays of coolness on sun-heated toes
water gold orange red tomatoes
this morning a father has tubes shoved down an already shredded throat
breakfast forced into a brown body
like tiny serrated blades catching on flesh not meant to be pulled from itself
I sit down to the first meal of the day
savour each bite of eggs Continue reading “2 Poems | Amal Rana”

2 Poems | Hilary Varner

On Writing Vows

I would never tell you why I collect
on slow treks to your usual stashes
under the bed behind the hanging quilt,
beside your desk’s grease stains,
and in the form of carefully balanced piles atop the curio

the dishes that you leave, nor would I
sum up for any invited, seated crowd,
why my fingers, filigreed,
swirl water over the blue plates you like
for their unusual flatness, and I Continue reading “2 Poems | Hilary Varner”