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Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

                   Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.”

Matthew 18:21-22 KJV

 

Praise those mothers who when naming their sons

did not know they would be laid to rest

in the nation of our black tongues

 

It is to these Women

we pledge

our allegiance

 

Praise the cheekbones grated free by city curbs

n’ the innocence seeping into the rear floors

of those 4×4 Fords

 

Please tell me

you understand

what I am saying

 

In the breath between sin and baptism

I can smell their pleas, and all of them

smell of their mother’s milk

 

Mend those knees of sisters set in gravel

spines snatched by canvassed brothers and

the daddies rendered mute in sterile morgues

 

Mend the ears that heard his cry

calling her name, mine

and Mary’s too

 

I ask you again Lord, please praise ‘em.

 

BIO: Cleveland native Andrea Y. Rodriguez is an Afro-Latina writer based in Chicagoland. She graduated in Fall 2021 with her B.A. in English from Lewis University. Rodriguez is a 2022 Best Small Fiction nominee and has been featured in FEED,  Jet Fuel Review, Ghost Heart Literary Journal, The Rise Up Review, and elsewhere. Rodriguez currently works as a Human Resource Specialist for Fountaindale Public Library.

War Zone by Jacob R Moses

My eyes see degradation of human life and disregard for human death   My brain fights while it simultaneously aspires for peace   My stomach digests the vitriol and the

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