August Feature: Christian JaLon
August 15, 2017
Review of Indigenous Species by Khairani Barokka
June 10, 2017
April Feature: Diannely Antigua
May 11, 2017
Review of how to get over by t'ai freedom ford
April 27, 2017
Review of Then Winter by Chloe Honum
April 24, 2017
“Great Pain into Art”: On Tomás Q. Morín’s Patient Zero
April 11, 2017
March Feature: Jacqui Germain
April 3, 2017
Review of The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded by Molly McCully Brown
March 26, 2017
A Guardian to Others’ Solitude: Review of Jenny Johnson’s In Full Velvet
March 19, 2017
Review of WHEREAS by Layli Long Soldier
February 24, 2017
February Feature: Kaveh Akbar
February 20, 2017
November 17, 2016
by cynthia dewi oka, featured in issue vi
Time walked across the street called midnight.
It left us standing in a forest of pundits and their fluorescent fruit.
Still, it was dim. As water in the bowels of the city, as the impression that I had been here before,
looking over this fear in the shape of a red pudding, trembling at the fork’s slightest gesture.
What good is the fork when hunger is gone?
There is no secret to resurrection buried under the wood. I know I am forcing the opposite of
song to sing.
Does it ever miss us – time, I mean? As it strides into the fire-worked night, the crowds pale with
clenching their fists.
A predator has been elected president.
Strangely, his orange-ness reminds me of hope. In the sense that as a child I used to swallow
orange seeds to transform my body into a tree.
Because in place of roots, a displaced people have nerves sparkling with rings far too small for
Binders of laminated identity, and mothballs to seduce time into staying a little while longer.
Does it ever miss us – hung here like lanterns over the monstrous body of love?
I was seven when I tried to pee standing up without a penis. The piss ran hot down my legs, and I
knew I had failed.
The latch was rusted shut. In the ditch under the toilet seat, mosquitos bred their empire.
I banged on the door, screaming, “Papa! Papa!” though I knew he would beat me afterward for
trying to escape my body.
This is how I think about race in America. That banging,
because we do not want to die.
A white supremacist has been elected president, and I keep
thinking about the bullets hugged by my friends’ brains, and my father, skin smooth as teeth,
under a thin hospital blanket.
How he drew that last breath and everything behind it:
the buses stained with chicken shit, the ghosts in the rafters who stole his hair
and the combs for his remaining hair,
my mother’s feet black with dried blood,
and everything he was willing to kill in himself
to be here, and hated
in a new way. How that breath raged
inside him, and how I stood at the closed door of his life, with no hammer, no key.
I never did grow leaves, and roots to me sound like Questlove saying, “Time will tell…Time
never stops telling,” which is another way of saying time will not come back to save us, and the
body is not a thing to escape.
Here is mine. It is soft and hard at once. It pees sitting down. Sometimes it can exhale a poem
out of the most poisoned air.
It would eat the rusted latch before it gives in.
cynthia dewi oka