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BURNING HOUSE PRESS

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belonging

Exile is a Fire No One Can Put Out by Annie Q. Syed

I WILL SURVIVE

Where I come from, they still bury girls alive. Yet my father went and gave methai, sweet fat-fattening nourishment, to everyone he knew when he found out his first born was a girl. Then came the reality of teaching his girl how to make it as a female in a culture where older men, sometimes even in one’s own family, grab-a-feel of a prepubescent girl if they so choose. The easiest remedy was to turn me into a boy. I can’t recall if my wearing shorts, no make-up, very short hair came from a desire to be like one of the boys or to survive. I learned to curse very young and I trusted no one for a very long time. I learned to be the sun that can rot you from my father; I learned to be a woman who knows the man in the moon from my mother.
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Three poems by Mingji Liu

Rewinds

Peel open and peek:

inside the flapping, lolling mouth
of our mother’s photo album.

laminated with a sticky-wash skin
in grainy, colour-locked glamours.

encircled as we are, backlit and gypsy-like,
upon the retina of her old kodak.

Leaf through and look:

at our mother’s postgrad bungalow,
and the cats she found and raised alone.

and here, in burnout red, our ex-brothers,
with their lucid, low alley guitars.

and these polaroids of nameless children,
in some backyard mummery we long forgot.

Browse, then burrow:

deep into this picture house novel,

framed by weddings. birthdays. sleepovers.
reunions. divorces. second-hand toyotas.
painted kitchens. political borders. the first dog we ever got.

Then her final photo. Book ends.
Snap shut.
The film roll clicks.
And our lives rewind again.

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Berceuses by Petero Kalulé

Dementia

 

       come to mind cloud

come to cloud mind – Marie Ponsot

 

& every now

& then,

i sit by her feet, on her porch

never ever talking.

 

& together,

we watch the soughing

heavens  mutter, str-

etching their

cotton-silvers

 

in lulls  & retorts

of

nearly went  & nearly wait

– crossed & crossed all over.

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