Two Poems by Samuel T. Franklin

Transformation The warp of things bends    beyond the horizon’s dark curve. You slip your skin.    All the way— pain will not destroy you    if you keep bartering breath. Drape it like a flag across your forearms,    your hanging flesh your muscles naked and bloody in the air.    Go outside, tack

Suburbanites – Joe Ballard

You speak of Dreams as if they’re expected. Out my window planes fly loud & low, bombs descend & burst; lowered onto Momma’s head the way heavy things are meant to tumble. Concrete & clothes. Carpet & skies. Black smoke scatters to the blue like incense burned before the Prayer. I have four walls around,

Where We’re From – Jaime R. Wood (For Felicia)

the Waffle House satiates midnight drunks, steak knives punctuate slurs, slice through meat like it’s holy. the sun scorches black tar streets as if to punish the earth where soybeans used to grow, and before that cotton, gathered like snowdrifts in the ditches, tar black backs muscling down the rows, arms like machines, but bloody. no one will tell you who you are where we’re from, that your granddaddy owned somebody else’s granddaddy and that’s why you can’t go to the dance with Damario, why the cafeteria is color coded. the 10th grade algebra teacher makes you stand up in front of everyone to solve the problem, which you didn’t choose and don’t know the formula for. you hold your breath and shut your legs until you forget that other girls’ breasts make you wet and making boys erect during Sunday service is a sure fire cure for the chastity belt blues. where we’re from love is a tightrope walk, a hunger just out of reach until there’s nothing left to do but hold down the bloody steak like a schoolyard lie, cut it up, and chew.     Jaime R. Wood is the author of Living Voices: Multicultural Poetry in the Middle School Classroom (NCTE 2006). Her poems have appeared in Dislocate, Matter, Juked, ZYZZYVA, DIAGRAM, Phantom Drift,  among others. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her cat Alistair who has trained her to  turn on the water faucet every morning so he can drink out of the sink.

Permission by Irene Doukas Behrman — Photography by Devin Shacket

“Visit Israel for free,” says Sahar. “I would.” You are both home for Thanksgiving, eating hamantaschen from the kosher bakery down the street. In between bites, you ask her if she thinks you are Jewish enough to visit Israel for free. “First off, you’re eating hamantaschen,” she says. “So are you,” you start to say,