Everywhere we were saying, “don’t shoot” and everyone (finally) began to question harder, to mourn louder and to sift our bodies into harm’s way because that, as a mode of defense, was all that seemed left us to do. What occurs over much of this issue is where the real world and our lives in art collide to great effect. 


works in progress: Lauren Whitehead

in particular the black woman question, right, with its layers and generations and bootstraps and pornographies and first ladies and what not and and what have you. and so in order to reflect, first the black woman has to shut off a certain valve,


poems: Nathan McClain

Be thankful for a bed.
Be thankful for the sleepless
child when, in the middle of the night,

poems: Camonghne Felix

Had I drowned though, had I
burned the flag, the grieving would have fluxed all

poem: Jeremy Radin

Forgetting death, I dinosaur into the meat,
ferocious, resolute. When through I take
another portion, another portion, & add
to that:

photo essay: Rolando Pellot

poems: Safia Elhilo

at the government office a veiled woman

made the card on microsoft paint told me my arabic
was not bad for a foreigner you can barely
hear the accent

poem: Tishon Woolcock

We know why the fence hangs ragged from its hinge
Why the grass grows machete-long beside
the cracked pathway,

poems: Patrick Rosal

To those who plead Not guilty
I say: a poem is a field.
Here’s proof: I haven’t said
anything about my hand
in murder.

poem: Ben Alfaro

When the sequencer and drum samples circled
loud from speakers, narrating with each thrum
a new life, it emerged rough on our tongues; cigars
blackened to ash.

fiction: Larry Smith

She wanted people to love her enough so they’d indulge her for existing. She even wanted waiters and waitresses to love her. She’d chat them up in a cutely unctuous sort of way and was very pained if she couldn’t finish her meal, worrying the waitress would feel bad about it. Maybe a certain extraordinary kindness was mixed in there as well.

which is to say: Scott Woods

So the better, more useful question before us is: Does he mean for the portrayal of black people in his books to be offensive or is it an unconscious-yet-still-egregious tic? Is Stephen King a full-on practicing literary bigot?

fiction: Sonia Cheruvillil

After all, there’s a singing boy in the tunnel. It must be dealt with. But the train roars forward with no special halts, and as it thunders through the tunnel — it snatches the shadow and the boy with it.

nonfiction: Jason Carney

By the time the sun came up, the campus was covered in a sickness and ignorance colder than the April snowfall of a few days before, now littering the ground, embedded with dirt and grime. The only spot of cleanliness I noticed when I arrived on campus this afternoon was the public outpouring of support for those harmed by the act.

poems: Aziza Barnes

there’s a comfort we can work with create a monster to hide a monster vampires are all the rage in the 21st century a sexy lie don’t look at me I’m busy here his profit margin as a citizen is low he probably won’t reach 30 with all his freedoms with all his hands open 

the Conversation: Adam Falkner talks with Hanif Abdurraqib