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I have become struck with sadness in more ways than one. From the slaughter of black and brown bodies to the mistreatment of marginalized voices throughout literary environments to the ear wrenching language addressing rape culture and women. I'm sick. I have struggled to found safe footing only to find the ground torn up beneath me. Oh, how I weep in my bedroom on mornings when I find another black body has been met with a bullet's teeth. To relearn what it means to be depressed. Or saddened. Or angry. Or _______.

How to name a cyclical emotion. I am on standby. I am scared to leave me house. I am praying for family. Friends. People I do not know. People who look like me.

And part of this is why we write, no? To feel peace when our skins are at war? To feel something other than? I look to Black Philosophy #3, by jayy dodd, as he says: "This body been pretty before it was new / & Black, been always & now." Or to Jonathan Jacob Moore's, micro aggression: "how do you dispose of evidence when you are / the evidence?" The truth is, I do not what to make of days when I do not hear of death. Of a body made disposable. Truth is, I just want to sit home and watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, with a glass of wine and box of cookies. But, it is the beauty in Mooring at the Mouth, by Sarah Maria Medina, when she writes, "look we’re still here." And I look in the mirror and believe that.

I mean to say, I am writing to keep myself still. To keep myself in the moment. This issue reminds me why breathing is a luxurious act of the body. For without breath, we are nothing. These poems breathe. These poems plant roses on the graves of those we have lost. Of the pieces we have lost in ourselves.

Luther Hughes Founder & Editor-in-Chief the Shade Journal

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