Spirit                                                                                           by paulA neves


now for years I’ll see your face
on well dressed men older than you, 

electric buses running too late for the shift,
vegan restaurants where diners gave you the check,

        … union clinics where bones are set like borders,
        … summer stalls where weekend hustling demands dollars.

        You’d dragged yourself from wherever the buck had stopped
        (I… knew this),
        insisting time “was too much money to just piss.”

        I knew all this before—even unborn shadowed you, 
        whispered (in English) as you crossed the corner to the bar:

        “This is not where our intentions get filled!” You laughed.

        Then cuffed me on the mouth once born —
        dragged yourself from wherever and who was
I, for daring to be, like you, a sprit,
rising above everyone else in port.


are no epics from wherever the buck has stopped.
You… died in your own currency to prove it.

I will not.

paulA neves, a Luso-American writer, multimedia artist, Newark, NJ native, and recipient of the 2020 NJ Poets Prize from the Journal of NJ Poets, is the author of the chapbook, “capricornucopia: the dream of the goats.” paulA has exhibited multimedia/visual art at The Newark Museum, the National Council on Aging, Rutgers University, and elsewhere. paulA is the co-founder of Parkway North Productions, which produced the award-winning documentary “The Remedy” about two NJ hip hop artists/musicians. paulA’s cross-disciplinary work often focuses on work and working, family, artists and their communities, working class urban experience, Gen X (remember us?), (dis)placement, and restoring/reimagining the voices of immigrant forebears. Follow on Instagram @itinerantmuse or visit paulaneves.net.

Guest Editor Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American writer, is the author of two poetry books, most recently Only More So (Salmon). Awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Fulbright, CantoMundo, California Arts Council, Foundation of Contemporary Arts (NYC), Yaddo, Fundação Luso-Americana, and Barbara Deming Foundation, “Money for Women.”  


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