Alma Clark

I Am, I Said

By DAVID MEISCHEN

The evening of September 30, 1993, I walked into an Austin coffee shop adjacent to the university, sat down with two women who were teaching colleagues, and launched into a discussion of ninth-grade curriculum in the magnet program where we taught. I was in high spirits that evening. Euphoria is the word that comes to mind, a physical state with me—my hands in nonstop motion, words spilling over the table like rapids. At a juncture in the conversation, I happened to glance about—just as a young man at the nearest table flicked his eyes in my direction. “Oops,” I thought, “I’m overdoing it. Need to rein myself in.” But then I glanced again.

I Am, I Said
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Morning Light

By JEMAL HUMED 
Translated by ADDIE LEAK

The piece appears below both in English and the original Arabic.

 

For the fighter Taha Mohammed Nur [1]

1

The hallway is cold and disquieting, lined with austere doors marked with consecutive numbers, giving no indication of their occupants.

The corridor is never-ending, leading to a room at its end whose grand entryway, formidable and rigid, seems to surveil the movement of the other doors.

He stood in front of it and straightened his service uniform. He took deep breaths, as if to expel the fear that had accumulated between his ribs on this particular morning inside the prison.

Morning Light
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My Freedom

By MARIA DE CALDAS ANTÃO

 

 

My freedom is not
to answer the phone
or open the door. I don’t care

if I’m not liked anymore.
I’m free to be that, disliked, to sweat
to be that—take flight, from like or dislike.

My Freedom
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Indoles and Aphrodite

By LAKSHMI SUNDER

Aphrodite was whipped from the sea, spun from the foam of Oranos / Uranus.
In science class, I’m laughing at Uranus / your anus. Now, I’m cornered in timeout.
He wants me when I’m fresh, for my curves. He wants me when I’m fermented,

for my composting capabilities. I can grow something made from him.
But the daughter would be born with the worms, and it doesn’t take much for
worms to molt into Medusan snakes. Aphrodite was worshiped as a goddess

Indoles and Aphrodite
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Summer People

By BETH BOYLE MACHLAN

Most of our old family photos are from the beach, and most of them are of my father. In them, he is always grinning, gleaming from the Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil that scented the denim shirt he wore every summer. My mother loved the beach, too, but did not like to be photographed. In all those years, Dad caught Mom on camera only once, on a boogie board riding a wave, still wearing the sunglasses that stayed on her head all summer, even after dark. She preferred to float, read, and take pictures of my brothers and me. Blindingly pale or perilously pink, like “before” ads for skin cancer, we’re inevitably chewing or punching or blinking, ruining the picture. My father, however, always looks perfect, natural, exactly where he’s supposed to be. His hands are on his hips, superhero-style, as if he’s won some high-stakes game and the beach now belongs to him.

Summer People
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January 2024 Poetry Feature: Part I

New poems by ADRIENNE SU, ELEANOR STANFORD, KWAME OPOKU-DUKU, and WILLIAM FARGASON

Table of Contents:

  • Adrienne Su, “Solitude”
  • Eleanor Stanford, “Lover, before the pandemic”
  • Kwame Opoku-Duku, “Glory”
  • William Fargason, “Holy Saturday”

 

Solitude
By Adrienne Su

My body rebelled
against the amorphousness
of American

motherhood, which asked
me to be available
as if I were five

women: two grandmas,

January 2024 Poetry Feature: Part I
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Two Poems by David M. Brunson

By DAVID M. BRUNSON

 
Skyline of Santiago, Chile

 

Vertigo

Santiago, Chile

For over a month now, my wife and I have dangled extension cords
from our 26th-floor balcony to the neighbors’ apartment

because their landlord collects rent but refuses to pay the utility monopoly.
The girls cry when we have to disconnect, but we’ll be gone for a while,

plus there’s a chance of rain, and therefore, an electrical fire
in our 1000-person highrise. We saw one just last week. The all-volunteer

Two Poems by David M. Brunson
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