'Of Bloodwork & Housework' by Momtaza Mehri

our blood has a love affair with drains & sinkholes
even we can’t come between

between the pavement and our teeth     the gap is always narrow
& someone is always trying to die
as quietly as possible 

possible as it may be          i have no time for soft boys with soft voices
wearing a mother’s pay-check on their feet  
shoelaces as ragged as their nightly breath

breath as asset seizure     you are this & more      you are a pop song
that lasts just over three minutes
a hundred & twenty seconds worth of undoing  

undoing what the world has done to me is a full-time job
yes i am gassed up         & drunk off my own subjectivity
& hurting
the way women raised on prophets & rappers
are bound to             both die young & leave poor imitations 

imitations or disappointments               both i am used to             my little hot oil splash. 
meet me in the middle
someplace where the breeze licks at ears
& grief wears something other               than a fitted cap
& no-one mentions words that don’t mean anything
childish shit like freedom                       & safety                            & eventually

& home.  

'Nightingale Pledge' by Romalyn Ante

'Late Last Year' by Amina Jama