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115: A Death of a First-Born


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ONE young life lost, two happy young lives blighted, With earthward eyes we see: With eyes uplifted, keener, farther-sighted, We look, O Lord, to Thee.   Grief hears a funeral knell: hope hears the ringing Of birthday bells on high; Faith, hope and love make answer with soft singing, Half carol and half cry.   Stoop

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114: B.F.F. by Hieu Minh Nguyen


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I lay in the dark & stretch the portrait of a white woman across my face until it splits. Beneath my bed, a catalogue Of half-faced women sing me to sleep. I’ll start with Amanda Elias & how I thought, in order to be worthy of desire, I had to wear her skin. For four

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113: Agent Blue by Teresa Mei Chuc


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To kill correctly takes calculation. Down to a science. Arsenic cacodylic acid. Know water and rice on a cellular level. Make sure no surviving seed can be collected and planted. Because even a small seed assures survival. Because mortars, grenades and bombs cannot destroy a grain. Because our heart is made of seeds. Know what

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111: Bitch Is a Word I Hear a Lot by Kim Parko


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I hate the word, and I guess that’s why it is said? People love to hurt one another. It is what makes us human. I do love dogs. They don’t seem to be evil unless humans make them that way. Dogs can maul and they can sniff out bombs. They’ll get as close to you

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110: We Lived Happily During the War by Ilya Kaminsky


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And when they bombed other people’s houses, we   protested but not enough, we opposed them but not   enough. I was in my bed, around my bed America   was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house.   I took a chair outside and watched the sun.   In the sixth month

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109: My Mother Goes to Vote by Judith Harris


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We walked five blocks to the elementary school, my mother’s high heels crunching through playground gravel. We entered through a side door.   Down the long corridor, decorated with Halloween masks, health department safety posters— we followed the arrows to the third grade classroom.   My mother stepped alone into the booth, pulling the curtain

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108: Bessie Dreaming Bear by Marnie Walsh


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we all went to town one day went to a store bought you new shoes red   high heels   aint seen you since   This poem can be found in the volume, A Taste of the Knife: Poems (Modern and Contemporary Poetry of the West). Think about how the poem made you feel. Are

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107: And Also With You by Natalie Shapero


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The comet taught us how to watch the war. The comet contended that fire is romantic and recommended we each behold it alone, envisioning out there somewhere our next lover, craning up at this same sky. Was the comet simply endeavoring to keep us divided, I asked it, and the comet did not reply. Then

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106: Duty by Natasha Trethewey


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When he tells the story now he’s at the center of it,   everyone else in the house falling into the backdrop—   my mother, grandmother, an uncle, all dead now—props   in our story: father and daughter caught in memory’s half-light.   I’m too young to recall it, so his story becomes the story:   1969,

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