white feather on a vibrant yellow background Suley and me had a Negro union—but she’s / wantin’ a legal one, wants me take / her trembling hand in marriage / so I can take more than just her / shadow wherever and whenever I go.” David Mills   |   June 2020 Poetry Feature » white feather on a vibrant yellow background The ruckus comes from above, not below / it’s not in shattered displays or plywood signs splintered by rubber bullets." ruckus   |   New Dispatch by Vaughn M. Watson » white feather on a vibrant yellow background Anyone who’s been hurt carries the damage with her, / as if her task were to propagate it, print / it onto anyone who comes too close. We’re / innocent in the face of it, as a frost is innocent / of devastating the harvest.” Claudia Masin   |   Poetry in Translation »
Image of snow geese

Dick Cheney Was Not My Father

But he could have been. My father was a similar man. And his name was Richard Cheney, though he never went by Dick, and he never lived at the Naval Observatory. He was an orthopedic surgeon in suburban Kansas City who said stupid things like, “These hands are gold.”

Image of The Salt Path book cover.


Raynor Winn
We’d expected extremes of weather while we were on the Coast Path, British weather. Wind, rain, fog, occasional hail even, but not the heat, the burning, suffocating heat. By lunchtime we’d crawled out of the shade of Woody Bay into an intensely hot afternoon.

Old ship at sunset

June 2020 Poetry Feature: David Mills

When I’m cursing them tanners under / my breath’s breath, I speak Yankeyfied / Negro / English. Gathered bit of limping / French and Spanish on a voyage // to Cadiz; anchor jarring the sleepy / waters of Caleta. Beach pinched / between two castles.

jacking up the house

Home Below Sea Level

I grew up on an island called Broad Channel in Queens that was at or below sea level, depending on the tide. My dad’s house was one that was high and dry. We lived on Cross Bay Boulevard, the street which ran down the spine of our croissant-shaped island.

Book cover of An American Marriage

Reading Black Voices: TC Staff Picks

This is the first in a series of features highlighting the Black writers our editors and staff have been reading. To read The Common’s statement in support of the nationwide protests against anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and police brutality, click here.

Using The Common in my first-year seminars has been fun, fruitful, and helpfully startling for these classes.”

—Martha Cooley, Associate Professor of English, Adelphi University Receive classroom subscription discounts, lesson plans, and more when you TEACH THE COMMON »