Session Five Anthology

MENTOR: Christopher Soto

Mango Season

This mango season
bodies dropped
to the floor of a classroom.

Too green, my mom says,
and puts one back on the counter.
Too bruised, she sighs, tracing the skin of another.

Look at its lopsided roll,
a girl like that will need at least ten
surgeries before she can walk again.

People always get injured during mango season.
It’s normal, falling for things that are beyond
our discretion.

It’s not the fall that hurts
but everything growing in between.
The door knock that triggers a panic attack

because greetings sound all too much like gun fire
every knuckle rapped on wood
a hollow-tipped bullet.

Even the rain is asking
why all the men who go on shooting sprees
look the same.

How many ways can you cut a prayer?

Why does entitlement always nestle
like a cat between the thumb and forefinger?

My boyfriend once had seven
mango trees in his backyard

is used to the waste
the spill and dent of orange.

We’ll have to slice away the injuries
but we can freeze the rest of them.

Have they gone bad?

My boyfriend wants to know.

He says, I can give you all of them.

I pick one up and wrap it in another paper face.

When we give some to the neighbors to eat
the first thing they do
is wipe away their chalk mouths.


Luisa Aparisi-França  

Un Faux Esprit

The riots subsumed the righteous in utero.

We had babies over for
tea and soiled milk.
Chariots got
scrubbed. The ashes
were smudged on
waiting cheeks. No,
a point of pride. No,
instead: madness instilled.

Sad to watch them run amok.

A mockery: a lunacy
as fringe; all the dust
coating cups, glass
cups, rivers of ducks,
all those metaphors
for gears of war,
the lion’s den,
antelopes as gins.

Dream a bit, scour a bit more, more than before,

before the world
as a coin
is spent.


Benjamin Bisek

lines basking

pages fold themselves into empty filets
of my skin, wrapping watered trees
in their enameled texture. it's a ghost
town of soil, how everything is bound to leave
an empty pruned cocoon. the root's
knuckles coil when frictionless roads encounter
the very last collision. its ridges contour
loudly for their lost cause
the forgetting;
blurred translations when the doors shut and you drive.
to a pinpricked absence where I'm already melting.
ringlets of light welcome us on the cusp of
homecomings. contorted white partridges
-seraphic light- falling from the sky
and i finally understand why it's here:
to bring us to the stairwell.
it's always foreign endings of words that mangle
my tongue obscenely green. their ebbs
violating my mouth with a new taste. i realize
this obscure rhythm speaks to me
it's an old mask dusted in recollections
that the body cannot hold anymore
my skin oils itself to remain afloat in the deluge.
these gracious lengths of my legs expand into
temples of smoke. products of rooms with shelling
hooves for ceilings. split the balking air into two buds.
witness the wringed finger tips between silence and kill.


Amika Sethia