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We Have Never Known True Winter

which is to say we have never seen trees die. We have seen them break from the root hurl their limbs against windows snaptwist like brittle bone. We have seen hurricanes transparent oceans and a sun that is a sun that burns freckles onto your skin. We have seen months without rain and months without electricity. We have known the mythology of seasons and the…

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Inside the Den

if I should say there is a wolf at the table with half my DNA and people keep inviting it back if I could do more than survive in this territory where they pass bone china plates, not knowing how I breathe, hoping the mottled gray beast won’t sense this weakness and if I follow the leader / fall limp / fake death would it…

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Buksán Mo Ang Ilaw

et facta est lux   In the language you struggle with, light is something you open like a door, and kill like a bird, neck wrung into cursive in your warm hand. The inside of an egg is white and red. There is only one word for for, on, in, into, at. Everything has an interchangeable sex, or perhaps none at all. On long night…

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Leaving Home

Translated from the original Chinese by Jianan Qian and Alyssa Asquith   The old men liked to say that our village was our world. I couldn’t accept this, and from the beginning, I felt that I didn’t belong. I wasn’t interested in farm work or gossip—whose sons were feuding for their family estate, whose wife had had an affair, who was the manliest, who had been…

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Three Poems from Maša Torbica

Anni Mirabiles Gnawed women warned me: love is something spiteful spat at us by the stars. Lust, a spit we tie ourselves to turning    grinning    crisping    for a brief feast. Wide-eyed, I watched people slice into each other daily, sharpening, serrating utterances with nonchalant malice, then bearing down, sawing away until hilt hits gristle. No one could steer me toward worldly survival. Hopeful, I grew…

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