When people say, “we have made it through worse before”

Clint Smith

all I hear is the wind slapping against the gravestonesof those who did not make it, those who did notsurvive to see the confetti fall from the sky, those whodid not live to watch the parade roll down the street.I have grown accustomed to a lifetime of aphorismsmeant to assuage my fears, pithy sayings meant toconvey that everything ends up fine in the end. There is nosolace in rearranging language to make a different wordtell the same lie. Sometimes the moral arc of the universedoes not bend in a direction that will comfort us.Sometimes it bends in ways we don't expect & there arepeople who fall off in the process. Please, dear reader,do not say I am hopeless, I believe there is a better futureto fight for, I simply accept the possibility that I may notlive to see it. I have grown weary of telling myself liesthat I might one day begin to believe. We are not all leftstanding after the war has ended. Some of us havebecome ghosts by the time the dust has settled.

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Kendal Thomas

Clint Smith is a writer, teacher, and doctoral candidate at Harvard University. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem , and the National Science Foundation. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review, and elsewhere. His first full-length collection of poetry, Counting Descent, was published in 2016. It won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. His debut nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed, is forthcoming from Little, Brown.

No. 19


Michelle Tudor
Peter Barnfather

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