Sofia Belimova

Enter Different Electronics (II)



35 Enter inhale. Enter time. Enter inheritance. 
Enter or else. Enter doors with handles,
without handles, manually manipulated. Enter alone 
feelings. Enter tension. Struggle entering 
bitterness enter. Love turning towards lust enter. 
Historic languages enter. Human conditions of
oppression enter. Enter roadside assistance. Enter 
talented man killed too soon. Gravemarker write 
L.O.W. Enter near Dayton settlement but 
specifically at Englewood location. Enter chirping 
bird sounds out of the ceiling again. Enter your 
own music mixing up into the chirps of birds. Enter 
memory again. Enter thought again. Enter more and 
more gunshots. Enter yelling. Enter empathy and
critical engagement.

Enter Different Electronics (II)

Maria, I’m Going to War

Translated by JETHRO SOUTAR

Papá announced, “Maria, I’m going to war,” and stubbed his cigarette out in the ashtray. Mamã, clearing the table, gave her usual start. She stood stranded in the kitchen doorway, a dirty plate in each hand.

Going to war meant going out in the dead of night to David’s bar, playing hide-and-seek with military patrols. Our lot’s supporters gathered there after hours, drank a few beers, exchanged questionable information and reliable rumors. It had been the same every night for the last three weeks, since their lot retook the city.

After dinner, Papá would say, “Maria, I’m going to war,” and Mamã would give a start, try to talk him out of it, remind him of martial law and the curfew. 

Then, out of desperation, she’d say, “At least wait for the shooting to die down.”

Maria, I’m Going to War




When the smoke cleared and took with it the sirens
        and the uniforms strung across our sofas, 

what remained were rivers, mist, whisper as a habit,
        red dawn in the eyes of the sleep-deprived.

In the brush, here and there, beside the highway,
        the revenant scent of metal and decay.


The Jews of Kaifeng



When the exhibit went up at Peachtree Center,
the Chinese of Atlanta flocked downtown.
Jews had been in Henan so close to forever,
they weren’t seen as foreign. And we had found
an exhibit on China that wasn’t old vases.
Jews were Chinese in more ways than food.
Migration was not always out of the places
our families had fled; it had once been to.
Our pantries were “ethnic” not just for the shrimp chips
and wood ears, but as well for the matzah.
Maybe, when asked, Do you celebrate Christmas?,
we were not being checked for Zen or the Buddha.
We didn’t say it in so many words.
The line between Asia and Europe had blurred.

The Jews of Kaifeng

Ask a Local with Joaquim Arena: Praia, Cape Verde Islands


Image of Lighthouse, Praia, Cape Verde

Joaquim Arena was born in Cape Verde in 1964 and emigrated with his family to Portugal aged 5. He went on to study law and work as a journalist and musician in Lisbon. He is currently the Culture and Communications Advisor to the President of Cape Verde. He has written two novels (The Truth About Chindo Luz and Where Turtles Fly), one novella (A Lighthouse in the Desert) and a hybrid work that mixes biography, fiction, travel writing and history: Debaixo da Nossa Pele – Uma.

Ask a Local with Joaquim Arena: Praia, Cape Verde Islands

Bread N’ Roses


Image saying "writing from the Lusosphere"

Image of a bag of bread attached to a doorway

Lomba Das Barracas, Furnas, São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal

This morning, from our bed, Luke and I listened again for the ice-cream truck melody of the Portuguese bread truck. Not that we needed bread, because we’d bought a week’s worth the day before at our tiny grocery store that is also a bar and is also a café, but because it came through yesterday and we wanted to see the operation in action—did people run out after the truck, and buy loaves off the back? Or was it a pre-pay or on-tab on-order delivery? Apparently, in the tiny Azorean village of Furnas, the fresh food comes to you. Just last night, a fruit truck rumbled through the neighborhood, broadcasting a tuneless tune from its loudspeaker to alert neighbors of the fresh produce for sale—heads of cauliflower, potatoes, peaches, leeks, and tomatoes—right off the truck. The bread truck, we reasoned, might do the same.

Bread N’ Roses

Pandemic Poetics: Hope, Resilience, and Poetry in the Time of Lockdown


Image of three headshots: Tess Taylor, Jennifer Acker, and Dana Levin

On October 21, join The Common for a conversation about poetics in the time of pandemic and the ecology of lockdown. Acclaimed poets Dana Levin and Tess Taylor will read new work and discuss the importance of place, hope, and resilience in their creative and personal lives in a conversation moderated by Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker. This event is a fundraiser to celebrate The Common’s 10th publishing year and launch the place-based magazine into its second decade. Join us for stirring poetry and thoughtful talk!

Pandemic Poetics: Hope, Resilience, and Poetry in the Time of Lockdown

Malliga Homes


Sindya Bhanoo is a finalist for The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.

Malliga Homes” first appeared in Granta.


Mr. Swaminathan died suddenly, as he was walking back to his flat from the Veg dining hall after dinner. He was ahead of me on the path, and I saw him slow down. His gait changed from a fast stride to a slower, hunched walk. His left arm went limp. He lost his footing and crumpled to the ground. If I had not been swift, I imagine he would have hit his head on the cement. There would have been blood. But I caught up with him. Before he fell, I squatted to the ground and put my hands out, and his head fell directly into my open palms. Carefully, I slipped my hands out from behind his head, set it gently on the cement and sat at his side talking to him. His left eye looked lower than his right. His left cheek sagged, as if it might slide off.

Malliga Homes