BY JASON SHINDER
My friend says she is like an empty drawer
being pulled out of the earth.
I am the long neck of the giraffe coming down
to see what she doesn’t have.
What holds us chained to the same cold river,
where we are surprised by the circles
we make in the ice? When we talk about the past
it is like pushing stones back into the earth.
Sometimes she digs her nails into her leather bag
to find out where my heart is. The white sleeves
of her shirt are bright with waves when I visit.
When we lie, we live a little longer—
which is unbelievable. If you love
someone, the water moves up from the well.
BY NUAR ALSADIR
Like this are the days
and like this the nights
but the mornings they are different,
I’m counting the ways you comfort me
like a soldier counts his legs.
In these altitudes
I forget to breathe.
I am the broken plate
over and over.
You come to me straight,
double into aside.
I’ll never be here,
My throat full of night.
You sit across from me,
BY TINA CHANG
I opened the silver pronged evening and translated
the great song of the Industrial Age. Each night
I hoped it would tell a different ending. Each time
it sang a song, sadder than I would have imagined.
I heard it, not only when I put all my perspectives
away on shelves, until the shelves caved in.
What was left: a room with windows that looked out
and I interpreted the vast room that spoke of longing,
but mostly air. I consoled myself, heavy lidded,
I revealed myself to no one. I ached by the staircase.
I opened the cupboards and the refrigerator to let the cold in,
I walked with my bare feet dragging my lone body,
cold as milk as I kissed the bottomless depth, an ear
turned toward the series of bells, wind tied to a tree.
And then the wind stopped. If I break
the many windows will the sea roll and foam?
I am consumed with houses and what may propagate
inside them. What longing lives there, breeds
redemption? An open door to the wide plain is not a metaphor.
I swing it open each day. I leave the old house.