ISSUE III: Heritage

"Heritage" is The Global Youth Review's third issue, which revolves around images of culture, identity, and home for our 27 contributors, who hail from across the globe. We warmly welcome you into a space filled with riveting prose, poetry, and photography, all of which celebrate individual and cultural identity. Designed by Sena Chang

"Heritage" is The Global Youth Review's third issue, which revolves around images of culture, identity, and home for our 27 contributors, who hail from across the globe. We warmly welcome you into a space filled with riveting prose, poetry, and photography, all of which celebrate individual and cultural identity. Designed by Sena Chang


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H E R I T A G E<br />

<strong>ISSUE</strong> <strong>III</strong> FALL 2021<br />

T H E G L O B A L Y O U T H<br />

R E V I E W<br />


Ibra Aamir<br />

Dua Aasim<br />

Abdulmueed Balogun<br />

Sena Chang<br />

Steven Christopher McKnight<br />

Lisa Degens<br />

Joshua Ellis<br />

Zo Estacio<br />

Ella Fox-Martens<br />

Rowan Graham<br />

Arianna Harris<br />

Talha Hasan<br />

Bianca J<br />

Ziqing Kuang<br />

Gabrielle Loren<br />

Krittika Majumder<br />

Ivaana Mitra C.<br />

Shreya Raj<br />

Avantika Singh<br />

Helena V<br />

Lake Vargas<br />

Yvanna Vien Tica<br />

George White<br />


Akinrinade Funminiyi Isaac<br />

Akshita Kumar<br />

Anoushka Srivastava<br />

Anthony Salandy<br />

Ashley Pearson<br />

Assia Messaoudi<br />

B. Pick<br />

Bukunmi Oyewole<br />

Chinonye Alilonu<br />

Glorious Kate Akpegah<br />

JP Legarte<br />

Kate Rowberry<br />

Kaya Dierks<br />

Kayleigh Sim<br />

Layan Dajani<br />

Makenna Dykstra<br />

Mandira Pattnaik<br />

Maria Alexza Hernandez<br />

Matt Hsu<br />

Nina Sikandar<br />

Olga Musial<br />

Olivia McCann<br />

Ross Walsh<br />

Sonakshi Srivastava<br />

Syna Majumder<br />

Trisha Reddy<br />

Zoe Friedland<br />

For advertising inquires contact: theglobalyouthreview@gmail.com<br />

Cover Art: Layan Dajani<br />

Magazine Designer: Sena Chang<br />

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Table of contents and letters from the<br />

Executive Team —<br />

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TABLE OF<br />



Artefacts and structures that uphold<br />

one’s culture —<br />

Stories that sew the fabric of<br />

heritage —<br />

3<br />

Personal narratives and traditional<br />

tales —<br />

Featured writers and<br />

artists —<br />

5<br />

2<br />


4<br />


FABRIC<br />


20<br />

78 MANGOES<br />

WRITTEN BY AKSHITA KUMAR | An appreciation<br />

of Kumar’s heritage with sweet and<br />

juicy mangoes taking center stage<br />

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13<br />


collection of poetry surrounding Pearson’s<br />

origins<br />



WRITTEN BY JP LEGARTE | An expansion<br />

of what Legarte considers to be parts of<br />

his rich hertiage<br />


WRITTEN BY SYNA MAJUMDER | A freeverse<br />

poem detailing feelings of isolation<br />

and otherness from one’s own family<br />

18 CHANDERI<br />


story of traditions and threads inspired by<br />

the arts, aesthetics, and culture of India<br />



inspired by Sim’s experience living far away<br />

from her homeland<br />

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WRITTEN BY MATT HSU | A portrait of a<br />

young adolescent, reimagined as a “fallen<br />

angel”<br />


WRITTEN BY TRISHA REDDY | A fictional<br />

story drawing on fantastical elements to<br />

create a world strinkingly similar to ours<br />


WRITTEN BY ROSS WALSH | A piece seeking<br />

to explore the concepts of loss, grief,<br />

and the heritage left to us by previous<br />

generations<br />


The cover art for this issue was<br />

created by Layan Dajani, a selftaught<br />

graphic designer from<br />

Palestine.<br />


A comprehensive list of all 27 contributors<br />

of the magazine, with biographies that<br />

provide further insight into their craft<br />

75<br />

BOG BODY<br />


perspective on the connection between<br />

man and nature, combined with vivid<br />

imagery<br />


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Co-Founder, Instagram Manager<br />

Editor’s<br />

LETTER<br />


Founder, Editor-in-Chief<br />

I<br />

n order to move forward and make progress, we must look at<br />

history. Why? Because our past defines us. Because the past<br />

is reality. The future doesn’t exist and we are not aware of the<br />

present. The only thing we are certain about is our past.<br />

The world is broader than our bedroom. Our minds consist of<br />

infinity. But do we ever sit back and think for a moment, How did we get to where<br />

we are now? The answer will take us to the past. The answer will make us think<br />

of those who did everything to let us be where we are. They are our ancestors.<br />

Our ancestors have thousands of years of history. They survived<br />

hundreds of thousands of disasters just so we can stand here—alive. Their<br />

legacy lives within us. We are the ultimate proof of everything they have made,<br />

fought, and done to exist. We are a reflection of our ancestors. What they have<br />

left for us to claim is our heritage.<br />

What compels me about the multifaceted<br />

concept that is heritage is<br />

the subtle weight it carries in one’s<br />

life; having endured world wars and<br />

pandemics, one’s heritage acts like<br />

an oasis within our stormy society. When reading<br />

through the works presented in this issue, these<br />

themes emerged again and again, yet in wholly<br />

different forms—perhaps that is what drew my<br />

staff and I to select these pieces. The emotive<br />

diaspora-themed poems. The photographs that<br />

capture the beautiful simplicity of one’s home. The<br />

rejecting and embracing of one’s childhood homes,<br />

conveyed through the beautiful simplicity of a few<br />

words. The many pieces I have encountered in this<br />

process have forced me to embrace and reflect<br />

upon my own heritage, and I dearly hope that the<br />

rawness and clarity of this issue is conveyed to<br />

you, dear reader. Without further ado, it is with<br />

great pleasure and honor that I present to you<br />

issue three of The Global Youth Review.<br />

We can’t deny our past. Our past includes both the good and the bad—<br />

we have to know both of them. If we know our past, we can fix our future. Our<br />

ancestry can’t be ignored. We have to move forward with our roots. We have<br />

to reclaim our heritage. Our heritage is what we are. Those who reject their<br />

heritage reject their ancestors. They reject themselves. If we don’t know our<br />

heritage, do we even know ourselves?


fabric<br />

FABRIC<br />

"We all participate in weaving the<br />

social fabric; we should therefore<br />

all participate in patching the fabric<br />

when it develops holes...’’<br />

Anne C. Weisberg<br />


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Poetry<br />



“Younger Memoirs” serves as an example of<br />

how individuals bring home with them within<br />

treasured memories of places, people, and<br />

experiences.<br />

Pr i o r<br />

recollections<br />

of younger<br />

memoirs<br />

decorate the<br />

current suspension<br />

of eventual thinking.<br />

For example,<br />

the hundred-degree Vegas-vacation<br />

heat mimics the Philippines’ sweet<br />

searing of the skin,<br />

extending further into the Asian-<br />

American<br />

amalgamation of my dynamic veins.<br />

As the airplane now lands on the Los<br />

Angeles runway<br />

of widespread beaches and stardom<br />


city lights,<br />

the Chicago-suburb cul-de-sac<br />

intertwines<br />

with the recesses of my conscience.<br />

Once I step<br />

outside the airport gate into colder<br />

air, small children<br />

scurrying around imitate my<br />

adventurous excursions<br />

with the neighborhood kids who<br />

have since faded<br />

into familiar strangers.<br />

Restored senses of community stay<br />

embodied<br />

in the college friends that have torn<br />

this blanket<br />

of loneliness. Its threads once<br />

enveloped my fragile thoughts<br />

but are presently stripped into thinned shreds shifted<br />

away<br />

by spiraling breezes of assurances. Stringed<br />

from future aspirations, midnight reflections<br />

on the intricacies of our intersected lives<br />

beautify the endless conversations I have<br />

with these individuals, residing within<br />

the spaces of my soul reopened.<br />

Tell me what home, what heritage means<br />

to you. I could get lost in the various definitions<br />

that would blossom from the seeds of past<br />

navigations through the gardens in which<br />

we were planted.<br />

In another poem, I wrote about my belief<br />

that home materializes as elastic memory<br />

within mental snapshots we take. I discovered<br />

even imagined scenarios could become home<br />

if one day I choose to breathe life into them.<br />

Ultimately, our adorned reminiscence<br />

tirelessly shoulders home with us, if only<br />

we allow its integration to sustain<br />

our aging bodies.<br />


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om was, “floss and brush” and tangled hair<br />

She was sunscreen<br />

and “No. No. NO! Butter knives in the electrical socket.<br />

No sugary cereal for breakfast<br />

and not too many movies.”<br />

She would set me on blankets<br />

while she made the Earth grow<br />

in the small plots of peoples’ gardens,<br />

and a Nancy Drew would play on a loop<br />

in an old cassette player.<br />

I would draw quietly<br />

and stay seated in the shade,<br />

while I learned to sit and think.<br />

My first time eating ice cream I asked her to heat it up<br />

and she warmed it into a sweet summer soup for me,<br />

in many ways she was the sun.<br />

Grandma was globs of glue and paint,<br />

nightgowns and high heels,<br />

and declarations of,<br />

“Mostly Italian.”<br />

She was pasta and slices of salami<br />

and folk songs in Spanish over strums of warm guitar.<br />

We went to the beach and<br />

the wind sang calm through the waves<br />

and she told me I could take a seashell home,<br />

told me I could hear the ocean inside of it<br />

even back in Colorado.<br />

We would paint the ocean waves we’d seen<br />

with purple and silver and turquoise tempera, and<br />

she would ask me how I felt when I looked at a painting.<br />

I wish I could remember what I said,<br />

but now when I see a painting,<br />

I see the waves and taste the melted ice cream,<br />

I smell thick layers of sunscreen, hear the garden growing,<br />

and feel the women that raised me.<br />


RAISED<br />


RACE<br />

But much as media champions<br />

An inclusivity trite,<br />

Tokenistic falsehoods arise<br />

As capitalist mediation births<br />

A compromise lavished on dominant screens,<br />

Never entire communities<br />

Or mighty institutions.<br />

For difference is celebrated<br />


Antagonistic exchanges harbor<br />

Unknown dilemmas<br />

Where worlds are disrupted<br />

By momentary collapse<br />

Of lexicons civil,<br />

But harsh reality deems such pleasantries<br />

A rarity where ‘light skins’ know no true,<br />

Know no simple acceptance.<br />

For segmentation knows no tone,<br />

Nor no blood count<br />

Beyond arbitrary brackets<br />

That sever any decency.<br />

No, objectification finds deep rooting<br />

Where the ‘other’ is no longer a being,<br />

But rather a personified conceptualization<br />

That must succumb to banal labelling.<br />



that’s the name of a drink at the Sheraton,<br />

and it is called the ITC Rajputana now but<br />

none of the socialites care. cause even with<br />

names, pretty sells, old money stays. big<br />

red brick and the population form a hotel, all<br />

mojito-sipping millenials and many a half-drunk<br />

matriarch wearing a string of pearls and<br />

their poolboy. sundays here are as less of<br />

a status symbol than they are the reality,<br />

long nails reaching across tables at brunch<br />

to critique how fat your face has gotten.<br />

come on beta. live a little. have my dessert.<br />

there is a thing that lives in my head that<br />

loves them, the entire posse: the dubious<br />

bottles of chanel no. 5 on their dressers,<br />

the connections to alia and kareena and<br />

karishma. not priyanka, the bitchy betrayer.<br />

hello denial monkey, i say to it, condescending.<br />

hope you’re doing well. it stays there like the<br />

primates at ranthambore, waiting for twentyrupee<br />

lies from unsuspecting tourists, validation.<br />

it’s not picky. i think of the south delhi circles<br />

and i think of paris is burning--unapologetic,<br />

unknowing camp splashed across the marble<br />

floors of a five-star. drag queens performing to<br />

their NRI children and cheating husbands.<br />

there’s a smudge of glitter on my cheek where<br />

an aunty kissed it, and it’s bad makeup to the<br />

rest. i will never be a part of them, and i will never<br />

live without. we all have our burdens to bear.<br />

When ‘useful’ and discarded en masse when not,<br />

But much like dreams,<br />

Some are split between multiple,<br />

Stretched under mental fatigue<br />

And separated by the consistent thought<br />

Of never being quite good enough.<br />

But no one questions the caveats<br />

That sear silent soul searching<br />

Onto the footprints<br />

Of worlds that collide and disrupt<br />

Bygone assumptions of purity<br />

Or rather fears of the lurking unknown.<br />

PRETTY<br />


LA single grain of kosher salt slips<br />

Under my great-grandmother’s garnet<br />

As my father tells me to focus on the task at hand.<br />

POETRY<br />

LOX | B. PICK<br />

The tenderizer feels too warm for comfort, not<br />

In the same fashion as the fennel lodged beneath<br />

My fingernails. It’s tradition, or so he reminds me, as<br />

He strips the salmon’s skin.<br />

I am not a bad person.<br />

I pick up worms from scorching sidewalks<br />

And place them in puddles.<br />

“Every generation makes a modification. Leaving every inch of the flesh exposed<br />

Helps the flavours sink deeper. It’ll taste better this way, trust me.”<br />

Preparing herbs and preserves is easy. It’s harder to put your hands<br />

Onto something so cold, to expect it to return the love<br />

Of generations lost, of generations aching, of generations watching.<br />

I am not a good person.<br />

I pick up worms from scorching sidewalks<br />

And slice them into five equal segments.<br />


“Women rarely learn this recipe.”<br />

“Your hands are rougher than your brother’s.”<br />

There’s still salt stuck below the semi-precious stone,<br />

Creating a wound of its own -- somehow soothing. I place<br />

The hammer in my father’s hand, the grain finally slips out<br />

From beneath my great-grandmother’s ring and into his left palm.<br />

I am a good person.<br />

I’ll do this with my hands.<br />

Salmon can only be caught with lures, or so he reminds me.<br />

I ask him where this fish was from. He’ll ignore the question and<br />

Tell the same story again, the one about the fishing trip to Alaska.<br />

He’s not a fisherman, he never exaggerates.<br />

“Have I told you about the time a seal ate my salmon straight off the line?”<br />

“Have I told you about the time my dad threw my cooler -- fish and all -- into a trash<br />

bin at the airport in Anchorage?”<br />

“Have I told you about the time I gutted a salmon, then found a smaller salmon in its<br />

belly?”<br />

I am a bad person.<br />

These stories are mundane.<br />

I wonder if there’s a better way, as the tenderizer finally makes contact with the carcass.<br />

Every other family recipe leaves this part out -- my father<br />

Says that his father’s father added it to honour the fish the same way we might<br />

With other meats. This one is cured and gentler on the stomach.<br />


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POETRY<br />

POETRY<br />



o my ancestors: burning incense & withered flowers like hungry ghosts of a soul. tell me: what<br />

is the unmaking of salvation but the forgetting of a heritage that i never fell in love with? when i was<br />

younger: i was everything & nothing of a girl who didn’t believe in ghosts. stolen rice wine<br />

& drunken sins, lotus offerings & flower crowns in my hair like a divine being. but tell me: that<br />

you worshipped me all the same, that you do still. that you forgive the last of your bloodline for<br />

the death of a dynasty. ghost month on the moon calendar & in your homeland: i wander your<br />

streets like a ghost town, rootless mandarin in dead tongues & chinese poetry in funerary<br />

requiems. tell me: that i don’t swallow ashes of paper money & taste regret like charred embers.<br />

tell me: that i can save myself from this unearthly fate, salvage my unholy shreds & stitch them<br />

into second comings: that it’s not too late, that i don’t feel your otherworldly fingertips on my<br />

strangled pulse in every crevice of my nightmares. & when you consume me: remind me of how<br />

i died a hungry ghost, of a dream in which you loved me all along.<br />

//<br />

to my ancestors: burning incense & withered flowers like hungry ghosts of a soul. tell me: what<br />

is the unmaking of salvation but the forgetting of a heritage that i never fell in love with? when i was<br />

younger: i was everything & nothing of a girl who didn’t believe in ghosts. stolen rice wine<br />

& drunken sins, lotus offerings & flower crowns in my hair like a divine being. but tell me: that<br />

you worshipped me all the same, that you do still. that you forgive the last of your bloodline for<br />

the death of a dynasty. ghost month on the moon calendar & in your homeland: i wander your<br />

streets like a ghost town, rootless mandarin in dead tongues & chinese poetry in funerary<br />

requiems. tell me: that i don’t swallow ashes of paper money & taste regret like charred embers.<br />

tell me: that i can save myself from this unearthly fate, salvage my unholy shreds & stitch them<br />

into second comings: that it’s not too late, that i don’t feel your otherworldly fingertips on my<br />

strangled pulse in every crevice of my nightmares. & when you consume me: remind me of how<br />

i died a hungry ghost, of a dream in which you loved me all along.<br />

//<br />

& what is love? but<br />

a ghost town, second comings:<br />

a dream all along.<br />


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CHAN<br />

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No sooner that we mention the name<br />

of ‘Chanderi’ and images of glossy,<br />

vibrant beautiful fabric appear vividly<br />

in front of our eyes. This popular<br />

choice of fabric that is thinner than air<br />

owes its namesake to a little hamlet in<br />

Madhya Pradesh and a rich chronicle<br />

of history and kingship that makes this<br />

sleepy town a time capsule of memory.<br />

Chanderi; situated in<br />

northern Madhya Pradesh, 36kms<br />

west of Lalitpur (Uttar Pradesh), is a<br />

tehsil of Guna district (MP). The city<br />

is a melting pot, a home to Muslims,<br />

Hindus and Jains. Chanderi was an<br />

important fortress and administrative<br />

center during the Malwa Sultanate<br />

(15 th century) and until a few years ago<br />

its fortifications were still standing.<br />

History of Chanderi Town<br />

The town of Chanderi<br />

also known in the past<br />

as Chandagiri and<br />

Chandrapuram, has witnessed<br />

the rise and fall of several<br />

dynasties but there is no actual<br />

consensus on when it was<br />

found, primarily due to lack of<br />

written evidence. One source<br />

attributes its foundation to<br />

King Ched, who is said to have<br />

ruled over this region around<br />

600 BC. Chanderi is also given<br />

a mention in the travelogues<br />

of the famous travelers, Al Beruni<br />

and Ibn Batuta. Another mention<br />

of Chanderi is during the Gurjara-<br />

Pratihara dynasty, when King Kirtipal<br />

shifted his capital to Bodhi Chanderi<br />

around the 11th Century AD. Not much<br />

is known about the Gurjara-Pratihara<br />

kings of the region around Chanderi,<br />

other than the information yielded<br />

on an inscription found at Chanderi.<br />

Chanderi was lost to the Delhi<br />

Sultanate when Ghiyauddin Balban,<br />

a minister of Sultan Naseeruddin,<br />

attacked Chanderi in 1251-52 AD.<br />

When Allauddin Khilji became the<br />

Sultan of Delhi, he hired one of his<br />

most trusted nobles, Malik Tamar<br />

Sultani, under whose rule Chanderi<br />

was taken over by the Tughlaq<br />

Dynasty. From 1351-1388 AD, Chanderi<br />

was a part of the Delhi Sultanate,<br />

after which it was seized by the Malwa<br />

Sultans who incorporated it into their<br />

domains. After Chanderi was annexed<br />

by the Malwa Sultanate, from 1512-1515<br />

AD, it was seized by Sikander Lodi<br />

Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate. Again<br />

in 1520 AD Chanderi was taken over<br />

by Rana Sangha, the king of Chittorh<br />

until 1528 AD, when the Mughal<br />

onslaught by Emperor Babur was<br />

victorious in capturing the fort at<br />

Chanderi. In 1605, Jehangir, on behalf<br />

of the Mughal court, handed over<br />

the rule of Chanderi to the Bundela<br />

Rajputs, who in turn ruled Chanderi<br />

until 1811 AD. In 1811 AD, Chanderi was<br />

‘‘No sooner that we mention<br />

the name of ‘Chanderi’ and<br />

images of glossy, vibrant<br />

beautiful fabric appear<br />

vividly in front of our eyes.’’<br />

taken over by Colonel John Baptise<br />

Filose for Daulat Rao Scindia, who<br />

incorporated Chanderi in the Scindia<br />

estates. Kunwar Mardan Singh, one<br />

of the last rulers of the Bundelas<br />

annexed Chanderi from the Scindias<br />

in 1844 AD and made huge advances to<br />

restore Chanderi’s art, architecture,<br />

administration and political power.<br />

In 1858 AD, the English sent Sir Hugh<br />

Rose to capture Chanderi. In the siege,<br />

the English prevailed and Mardan<br />

Singh was incarcerated and sent<br />

to Vrindavan for the rest of his life.<br />

Chanderi sustained a lot in<br />

the 1857 uprising; it was plundered<br />

incessantly and partially burnt down.<br />

On December 12, 1860 AD, a treaty<br />

was signed between the British and<br />

the Scindias, and Chanderi was<br />

returned to the Gwalior estates.<br />

Vestiges of the past are present<br />

everywhere: ruins, old buildings,<br />

inscriptions which nobody is truly<br />

able to decipher; sati stones bespeak<br />

of a glorious ancient urban past. For<br />

Muslims, it goes back to the Muslim<br />

malwa sultanate. Jain inscriptions<br />

are even older. Hindus and Jains<br />

strongly believe that the ruins of<br />

Burhi Chanderi, 17 kms north of<br />

the present town, are evidence of<br />

the existence of a Hindu and Jain<br />

urban settlement there, prior to the<br />

advent of the Muslims. Many people<br />

in the city have heard about the<br />

description given in Ain-i-Akbari<br />

and believe in its accuracy:<br />

“Chanderi was one of the<br />

largest of ancient cities<br />

and possesses a stone fort.<br />

It contains 14,000 stone<br />

houses, 384 markets, 360<br />

spacious caravanserais and<br />

12,000 mosques.” (Abu’l-<br />

Fazl ibn Mubarak, 1590)<br />

Spinning Love- Chanderi<br />

Fabric<br />

Nestled between the low<br />

and humble hills of the<br />

Vindhyachal ranges, the town of<br />

Chanderi has not only been a cradle<br />

of many historical events but also of<br />

a rich tradition of Chanderi saris,<br />

the beauty of which lies in its finesse,<br />

softness and transparency. Chanderi<br />

is known to have its origin back in<br />

the Vedic Period, and is believed to<br />

have been founded by Lord Krishna’s<br />

cousin, Shishupal. The Chanderi<br />

produces three kinds of fabrics:<br />

pure Silk, Chanderi cotton and silk<br />

cotton. The motifs have come a long<br />

way from the traditional coin, floral<br />

and peacocks to the geometrics.<br />

In the year 1910, the royal<br />

family of Scindia brought the<br />

Chanderi sari under their patronage<br />


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POETRY<br />

and during period the gold thread<br />

motif was used in the main body of<br />

the cotton muslin saree for the first<br />

time. It also led to the introduction<br />

of the silk yarn and over the years<br />

dobby and jacquard use came into<br />

existence. Some of the various<br />

beautifully striking motifs include<br />

‘Nalferma, ‘Dandidar, ‘Chatai’,<br />

‘Jangla’, Mehndi wale haath’ etc.<br />

Chanderi was always<br />

woven using hand-spun cotton<br />

warps and wefts. It was spun as fine<br />

as 300 counts, and was as prized<br />

amongst cotton fabrics as the<br />

famed muslins of Dhaka. The<br />

British imported cheaper 120-<br />

to-200 count cotton, which<br />

greatly eroded the market for<br />

the more expensive Chanderi<br />

cloth. Referred to as ‘woven air’<br />

because of its transparency and<br />

the sheer texture of the fabric,<br />

Chanderi saris are known for<br />

their light weight and glossy<br />

texture that is different from<br />

any other textile woven or<br />

produced in the country.<br />

They owe this characteristic<br />

to the high-quality and extra<br />

fine yarns that are used in<br />

weaving. The yarn used to<br />

weave Chanderi fabric doesn’t<br />

go through the degumming<br />

process to prevent breakage<br />

during weaving, giving the<br />

fabric its unique shine and<br />

texture.<br />

There are three main<br />

categories of saris based on the<br />

material used. The product ranges<br />

from cotton to pure silk, i.e., silk by<br />

silk, silk by cotton, cotton by cotton<br />

and zari by silk. This cluster is known<br />

for producing the most intricate<br />

figured effects by jala or harness<br />

which are now done by dobby and<br />

jacquard, fine cotton counts and<br />

deniers, a combination of strong<br />

colours as well as muted tones. The<br />

buttis on the fabric are hand-woven<br />

on handloom. The buttis are made<br />

by use of needles. The number of<br />

needles used depends upon the<br />

number of buttis and its size. For<br />

each butti a separate needle is<br />

used. The design layout has been<br />

undergoing some changes to match<br />

demand, but it remains deficient on<br />

several accounts.<br />

The Chanderi material<br />

is now being used to make stoles,<br />

scarves, cushions, dupattas,<br />

draperies, and suit material. Safas<br />

or long scarfs for weddings and<br />

cotton pagris have also been a<br />

prominent product of this cluster<br />

and they are still adorned with the<br />

royal and elite families of Indore and<br />

Gwalior. About 25 to 30 years ago, the<br />

Jacquard mechanism for the border<br />

of Chanderi saris was introduced<br />

in Chanderi by the artisans from<br />

Banaras who also introduced the<br />

rolling log at the same time. The sling<br />

mechanism for carrying the shuttle<br />

across the warp was introduced by<br />

artisans from Nagpur in the 1960s.<br />

Before that, an animal horn with<br />

a hole at its tip was used for taking<br />

the weft threads across the warp<br />

threads.<br />

The traditional product<br />

designs of the cluster can be broadly<br />

classified as follows:<br />

- Nalferma silk designs wove in the<br />

body with 3 shuttles and 2 weavers.<br />

- Dandidaar bamboo striped border<br />

with motifs.<br />

- Chatai geometrical border with coin<br />

motifs, florals.<br />

- Jangla designs inspired by historical<br />

relics.<br />

- Mehendi wale haath design inspired<br />

by culture uses and extra warp.<br />

- Sooraj Mukhi and Sadda<br />

Suhaghan Raho saree for<br />

weddings*<br />

*(warp 20/22 denier silk and weft<br />

100s cotton)<br />

Chanderi silk’s profit<br />

margins are increasing steadily<br />

to this day, from apparel to home<br />

decor. The Rajwada collection<br />

of Fabindia is an ode to this<br />

fabulous textile.<br />

They have used the rich<br />

Chanderi fabric as it never<br />

goes out of style; plus, it adds<br />

that much-needed element of<br />

warmth to the rooms during<br />

winters. Along with product<br />

diversity, the artisans and Seths<br />

have started experimenting<br />

and recycling the old stock of<br />

their products by introducing<br />

block printing and batik on the<br />

Chanderi fabrics.<br />

A fabric is a spun story that<br />

has seen the rise and fall of many<br />

dynasties and wrapped itself snugly,<br />

brilliantly and gloriously on the<br />

bodies of people and lives that make<br />

it and wear it.<br />

I hope that these sun-kissed<br />

bricks charm you with their old<br />

stories and magnificent architecture<br />

against the setting sun, as you rush<br />

for the night market in the sleepy<br />

town of Chanderi.<br />

This piece previously appeared in<br />

Enroute Indian History.<br />

it always begins with light<br />

fluorescence we drown in<br />

we hide in<br />

we are here for a reason<br />

we have left something<br />

MA’S<br />

BODIES,<br />



will you help us retrieve it?<br />

perhaps it’s getting late already<br />

perhaps you should go<br />

you’re not worried they’ll catch you?<br />

us? oh, don’t worry, we are native to the fruit<br />

department<br />

we’ve lost a body<br />

popped it in the cart like canned tomatoes<br />

do you like red sauce? can I get a look inside<br />

your can?<br />

well, maybe some other time<br />

you see,<br />

you don’t come here to buy the things you need<br />

you come to buy the things you’ve lost<br />

you think she’s been sold already?<br />

but it is not yet morning<br />

how often do you buy a body?<br />

a high-neck sweater and hair like Brother’s<br />

yes, you. you don’t like it when I call you that?<br />

why did you leave her here in the first place?<br />

you cannot punish people for your genes<br />

and besides, it is I that’s too much Ma and too little me.<br />


sorry,<br />

are you the guard?<br />

do you ever nap<br />

in the deli department?<br />

maybe we’ve left her<br />

by the vegetables<br />

oh, the cart doesn’t work<br />

you have to force it through the tiles<br />

this is how you assert dominance<br />

over it and over Ma’s body<br />

we’ll pop pennies from our pockets<br />

a handful of buttons in gold marker<br />

you think that’s enough?<br />

you think this is the price of Ma?<br />

we’re not just buying the body; the insides have<br />

gotten lost too<br />

stick her palm to the refrigerators, see if it fits<br />

with the fish fingers<br />

a home is a hole, and we are native to brightness<br />

do you believe it? I don’t.<br />

Ma says<br />

in the end<br />

we can never be native<br />

to where we weren’t born.<br />


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POETRY<br />

POETRY<br />

dehydrated<br />


*<br />

A profound exploration of<br />

adolescence and maturity, through<br />

the lens of environmental change<br />



singapore i plant your flower on this american soil because i believe you still love<br />

me, watch it bloom into lilac laces & lavender ties like purple-stained promises. on my<br />

nightstand, our romance is beautiful but not exotic: night falls & i dream, drunk on<br />

your orchid’s faintly elegant aroma. midnight & i wake to the smell of death on my<br />

pillow: i caress a petal in my palm and it wilts like drunken tea leaves, reach for another<br />

& it crumbles like stardust between my trembling fingertips. singapore i am desperate,<br />

drowning your ruins in tears of coconut milk & sugarcane essence, deluging its petals in<br />

eyelashes of pandan extract but i still can’t shake the pungent perfume of decay. & now<br />

i am plunging fingertips like knives into this asian culture of a soil, hungry to revive my<br />

ancestry, to unearth my roots with my own lucid eyes, emerging with earth-filled nails &<br />

soiled knuckles, tangled roots entwining ruthlessly against my strangled pulse & i am<br />

merciless, eyes bloodshot, ripping your roots into unholy threads, your flower into<br />

unearthly ribbons & they scatter into my dark hair, my white sheets, my tattered lace<br />

nightdress. singapore if i’m mad i am madly in love-- & after, i bury america’s green<br />

card & hope it flowers into something earthly, taste fresh salt on my tongue & relish the<br />

metallic aroma of blood. yes i drink flower wine by the brim but no, i can never forget<br />

that i killed a flower like a breathing being, & now i am holding the wilted shreds of<br />

your orchid to my bleeding heart & lying to myself that no, i am not a murderer, &<br />

whispering through salt water:<br />

my beloved homeland, do you still love me?<br />

of course, i imagine you say.<br />

of course i do.<br />

*papilionanthe is the botanical name of the national flower of singapore. it is sometimes referred to as the<br />

hybrid orchid, vanda miss joaquim, the singapore orchid, or papilionanthe miss joaquim.<br />


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***<br />

i am from the golden state.<br />

rather,<br />

it’s the golden-brown state.<br />

a vernal emerald<br />

briefly reigns the sierra foothills,<br />

soon subdued by<br />

a paper-bag shade of<br />

thirsty.<br />

thermometers break<br />

during the oven summers.<br />

it’s only april<br />

when temperatures begin to look like<br />

good grades<br />

in degrees fahrenheit.<br />

91. 96. 103. 108. 112.<br />

***<br />

some years,<br />

folsom lake vanishes,<br />

and the water is a hairline, receding.<br />

the heat endures, revealing more<br />

desiccated shore, and the ruined,<br />

usually<br />

engulfed miners’ town<br />

emerges.<br />

it was flooded decades ago to make a<br />

perpetually<br />

untenanted reservoir.<br />

i visited the town in 2014, two years<br />

into the second californian drought<br />

in my lifetime.<br />

as i walked amidst stone walls<br />

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settled deep into the parched lake<br />

bed,<br />

my brother told me i was drowning:<br />

standing<br />

tens of feet under<br />

the lake’s expected surface.<br />

***<br />

i was in junior high<br />

when paradise became a chimney,<br />

exhaling smoke from the very<br />

buildings.<br />

the scorched acres and lost lives<br />

were reduced to fearsome statistics<br />

flashing across tv screens.<br />

this wildfire led to indoor gym class,<br />

as if we could hide from the air<br />

quality index: unhealthy.<br />

i never had school closed for<br />

a snow day, but<br />

classes were canceled<br />

that november, when the sky was<br />

smudged as brown as the june plants<br />

and<br />

as gray as our negligent rain clouds.<br />

they called it a smoke day.<br />

***<br />



Prose<br />



A hybrid prose piece of sorts, Hernandez’s<br />

piece is dedicated to the past, present, and<br />

future people of the Philippines.<br />


It was summer. Actually, it was always summer.<br />

They landed on our beaches dressed in red, white, and gold. I had never seen their kind before with<br />

skin so pale they burned red.<br />

Their mirth spoke of adventure and riches from distant lands, but their eyes were empty, their<br />

laughter hollow. While they were adorned in gold, we were crowned in flowers.<br />


It is not easy to trust and befriend a man, but still, we welcomed them into our arms. With an<br />

embrace, they too were crowned with our waling-walings. 1<br />

Only much later would I ask myself that burning question.<br />

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How had we fallen into the hands of the white man?<br />

24<br />




PROSE<br />

PROSE<br />


FROM<br />

HOME<br />

Dear God,<br />

Are You there? Can You hear me? Have You forsaken me?<br />

I pray to You the same way my mother taught me; hands<br />

clasped, fingers interlocked,<br />

and a Crucifix held tightly to my lips. It is bitter, the wood. Years<br />

of sweat and tears, unheard prayers, and fears. The bitter taste of<br />

desperation.<br />

But I am not my mother. I do not come to You for forgiveness.<br />

I do not come to You<br />

to beg. You are the smiling crescent of the night, the burning star<br />

come morning light.<br />

Something to see and something to behold. Even as I reach outward<br />

and inward, in search of<br />

You, I know that You will never answer my call.<br />

If I were to undress my thoughts and lay them to You as they<br />

are, You might hate me,<br />

even punish me for my honesty.<br />

Dear God,<br />

I write to You now at the dawn of my arrival to what<br />

they call the Land of the Free. My mother always dreamed of<br />

this day. For me or for her, I’ll never know. What matters now<br />

is the world I am yet to see and the opportunities I am yet to<br />

have. In the end, all of this will be for her.<br />

The relentless downpour that had cast us adrift had<br />

finally settled. The clouds had parted, and the day, it seemed,<br />

would be glorious. For there she was, standing upon her<br />

throne, a beacon of hope for the lost and exiled. On the lone<br />

island was a copper goddess, and her thorny crown rising<br />

from the horizon, her arm extended as if to say, “Come here<br />

my children.”<br />

I can picture it now. I arrive on the shore, safe and<br />

sound, to a great big city. The sun doesn’t burn, and the<br />

mosquitoes don’t bite. There’s an inviting warmth, not a<br />

blistering heat. The water is clean. There’s food, always. And<br />

the people! They’re kind and well-mannered. They greet you<br />

on the streets and welcome you into their homes. We laugh<br />

and we smile, and all is well. It’ll be just like the postcards in<br />

my mother’s tin.<br />

The birds are leaving.<br />

The day was still, the silence almost deafening. The horizon<br />

wavered in the distance. Low-lying clouds dotted the sky, sailing<br />

along the winds.<br />

Everything has changed whether it be from the sway of the<br />

trees, the scent of the leaves, or the sound of the waves.<br />

Nothing in this world is ever the same, that I know, but this…<br />

this is different. There is an unbearable emptiness to the land.<br />

The anito 2 no longer visit. They are fickle, yes, but never like<br />

this. Gold, sugar cane, rice, and more. What else is there left to<br />

give? Have we made them angry? Have we made Him angry?<br />

We are at the mercy of<br />

Bathala 3 , and I fear of His wrath and fury.<br />

I am not alone in my fears for even the people know.<br />

Hushed voices fill the night as the women whisper prayers to the winds. Their suspicions frighten the men who<br />

sharpen their spears. By sundown, they bring with them the fruits of their labour, but it is not enough, it is never<br />

enough.<br />

Earth, sky, and sea, He has created this world and He has the power to end it. We are His playthings, grateful to be<br />

alive. But we are also His companions. Without us He is alone and without Him we are nothing.<br />

Bathala have mercy.<br />

We waited along the sand. For what, I do not know. But we<br />

waited. The sun burned our bodies, and the heat dried our<br />

tongues but still we waited.<br />

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,<br />

The Lord is with you.<br />

Blessed are you among women,<br />

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. 5<br />

I hummed a prayer under my breath.<br />

Tulong-tulong.<br />

Mga anito ng langit at lupa,<br />

Pakinggan ninyo ang sigaw ng<br />

Aking puso at illigtas niyo po<br />

Kami sa panganib ng<br />

Kinabukasan.<br />

Tulong-tulong… 4<br />


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PROSE<br />

PROSE<br />

Dear God,<br />

There is a knot in my stomach, a lump in my throat. I am<br />

uneasy and anxious for the future. Tomorrow I will meet my employer.<br />

Please give me Your blessing for the days ahead. I trust in Your<br />

grace.<br />

They swarmed our beaches in droves, like moths to a flame. Flashes of<br />

red, white, and gold; steel against steel. They marched onto our land—<br />

one step, two step—carrying a white banner painted with red. I heard<br />

the spirits wail in agony as they stabbed into the earth.<br />

By nightfall, the sky was set ablaze, our villages razed to the ground.<br />

Ravished by the burning flames, eyes glazed over, they stared deep into<br />

the ashes of our homes. I stifled a sob as the fire scorched my soul.<br />

Our men remained scattered on the ground in bursts of flesh and bone,<br />

charred to the core. Those that survived suffered just the same.<br />

We were fooled. They had pitied us, nothing more. Clothed us, fed us…<br />

loved us. We welcomed them into our arms, onto our land. We shared<br />

in their adventure and their zeal, they shared in our laughter and our<br />

joy. We learned of their ways, and they learned of ours. We taught them<br />

of our god and our spirits and they taught us of their coin. We prayed<br />

beside them in mass, shared in their bread, and spoke of their God.<br />

But now they burn the world at our feet and hang us from the trees.<br />

Dear God,<br />

I met him today. He seemed nice and kind and gentle. He was friendly and straight-forward. I’ve<br />

never met a man who stared at me so…<br />

I’m to meet him tomorrow again. This time, he said to dress nicely. He likes his girls nice and clean,<br />

whatever that means.<br />

Dear God,<br />

Easy, he said.<br />

Dear God,<br />

My mother would be ashamed.<br />

The mottled bruises, the split on my lip. He promised me kindness for my services…<br />

The first night he had kissed me. The second he had ravished me and the third he<br />

had…<br />

Dear God,<br />

$200 – more than I’ve ever made in a month. I hope she will be proud.<br />


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Dear God,<br />

Here I am in the House of God. It hurts to pray. When I kneel the leather stings and<br />

the people stare but at least my skin is slowly healing.<br />

Dear God,<br />

As I lay here in the dark—battered and bruised, cold and alone—I can only think of my<br />

mother.<br />

Anak 6 , she had said, holding my hands to her heart. She had looked me in the eyes,<br />

her glistening eyes. They were like almonds. A deep, deep brown. I never noticed that before.<br />

Actually…there were many things I never noticed. Like the way her eyes wrinkled when she<br />

smiled or how her gentle hands pruned in the water, weathered from years of work. Or even<br />

when her breath rattled in her sleep with the uneven rise and fall of her chest. She would hold<br />

my arm without a sound. Old age, she said.<br />

We cried together that night. As I fell asleep in her arms, she held me like a newborn,<br />

cooing and singing to me like before. For a moment, I could forget the clawing feeling in my<br />

chest and the voices begging me to stay.<br />

By morning, she had kissed me goodbye. Her hands, brittle and weak, soft to the<br />

touch, had caressed my tear-stained cheeks. Salamat sa lahat anak. 7<br />

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One.<br />

Two.<br />

Three.<br />

Three lashes—the most they allowed. Benevolence, they said.<br />

We once trusted in the white man. But, after pillaging our homes, one<br />

by one, we were rounded up like animals. They were never satisfied with<br />

those that remained.<br />

The crackle of leather, the flashing of light, the clap of thunder. The<br />

storm had finally arrived.<br />

My husband fell to the ground. Perhaps I had<br />

Screamed.<br />

Red droplets and salty tears dotted the soil. Bursting veins against<br />

mottled skin.<br />

He leaned into my caress as I cradled him to sleep—like father, like son.<br />

The waling-walings would bloom over his grave come spring.<br />

As I fell to my knees, I looked to the sky.<br />


PROSE<br />

PROSE<br />

Mother, do you see me from above?<br />

Bathala, I am sorry for what You see.<br />

Here I am naked, for You to behold,<br />

To criticise and chastise.<br />

God, I am sorry for what You see.<br />

about<br />

how everyone<br />

wants to be<br />

This is not what we planned,<br />

This is not what she wanted.<br />

We befriended the white man and trusted in him,<br />


Footnotes<br />

1<br />

Waling-waling: An orchid species native to the<br />

Philippines, particularly in Mindanao, and is considered one<br />

of the national symbols of the Philippines. It is known to be<br />

worshipped by the Bagobo tribe as a diwata (a spirit guarding<br />

nature).<br />

2<br />

Anito: ancestor spirits and nature deities<br />

worshipped by indigenous Filipinos.<br />

3<br />

Bathala: Supreme being and ruler from an ancient<br />

Tagalog indigenous religion. After the proliferation of<br />

Christianity, Bathala would become synonymous to Diyos<br />

(Christian God).<br />

4<br />

Help-help / Spirits of heaven and earth, / Hear the<br />

cries of my heart, and / Save us from the perils of tomorrow.<br />

/ Help-help…<br />

5<br />

A traditional Catholic prayer often recited during<br />

rosary as penance and is addressed to the Virgin Mary to<br />

pray on behalf of sinners to God.<br />

6<br />

Anak: A Tagalog term of endearment for your<br />

child. This can refer to your son/daughter.<br />

7<br />

Thank you for everything, anak.<br />

But in return he repays me in<br />

Blood.<br />

W<br />

hen in Rome, do as the Romans do. we take<br />

that very seriously here, in a private school<br />

set jewel-like at the very back of the city,<br />

beliefs and social media in a cardboard box<br />

marked with grade boundaries. I haven’t been<br />

here for a long time. I won’t be here for a good one.<br />

what happens in Vegas stays there and I am still<br />

thinking about shovels and the skeletons of lovers<br />

with my faces on them. I have been playing the same<br />

song for five hours. come on, turn to me, tell me I<br />

can stop thinking about the national partition again.<br />

my parents’ room is colder than mine. I am not a patriot.<br />

the road to Damascus is lined with propaganda, and<br />

none of my thoughts are mine, ever, clouded with ink<br />

and the weight of my grandmother’s eyes on my neck.<br />

these are not things I know to be real: if they could they<br />

would bury me in familial warmth and pale white affection<br />

and burn me on wood made up of their best wishes for me.<br />

I am my own Saigon moment out of history class, looking<br />

at a life spiral down into newness. I don’t write in the language<br />

I was born around. I don’t believe in the gods that I write about.<br />

it’s like this: if an engine failure occurs while taking off,<br />

a plane must get airborne. it’s like this: I am going to be<br />

drunk at prom if it ever happens, and I will have my father’s knife.<br />

never meet your heroes, your admirers or your Waterloo.<br />

lattes are good enough, but in my head I am scraping<br />

off the burnt skin of my fingers from a filter coffee tumbler.<br />

this is elitism, fear, a last-ditch attempt at self-construction:<br />

that and a failed Instagram post. normal is what normal cries to.<br />

life’s not bad. I am just one minute away from home.<br />


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BY<br />


PROSE<br />


mother memories<br />

you speak the language of hyperbole.<br />

i speak a plum inside a snowball. you<br />

part crowds<br />

like moses like ticks scuttling<br />

past fingernailed teeth like butter<br />

with a hot knife well you said my gums<br />

are divine. a grin like citrus in your palm<br />

as the pill bottle tips thirty-two teeth, lot’s wife<br />

and yes, you swallow me.<br />

a memory warship taking on water in port<br />

you<br />

as truth<br />

i take<br />

at your word what’s a word to your lips maybe<br />

we can learn to live like this. it’s not like the horses<br />

will ever breastroke easy<br />

through the board but sometimes i can’t<br />

stand<br />

my hands like hummingbirds its needless<br />

what’s a tone indicator its needed<br />

to a finger to a lip what’s a lip<br />

a verse sardined inside a muscle what’s a mussel<br />

a bivalve a bivalve to a tongue a hinging<br />

text a string a cut. i’ve started dicing onions<br />

when i cry i<br />

need an excuse you’re going<br />

to get tired of holding me soon<br />

For Gaga.<br />

A perfumed candle melts as I write,<br />

the<br />

purple wax pooling around the wick<br />

as<br />

it burns so high and so bright and<br />

so fast.<br />

Indulgent Spices. That’s the scent.<br />

I can<br />

only assume my grandmother<br />

bought it.<br />

My grandad was not an indulgent<br />

man.<br />

I can imagine him glancing up from<br />

his newspaper towards the shelf<br />

where the<br />

candle lay, mulling over the<br />

prospect<br />

-er than his. And when I got the call<br />

of<br />

a Monday afternoon, my brother ex-<br />

-plaining that our grandad passed<br />

away last<br />

‘‘One of the problems with<br />

candles, similar to loved<br />

ones, is that they do not last<br />

forever.’’<br />

night, I was glad. In his final weeks<br />

the<br />

illness spread through him like raw<br />

sewage in-<br />

-to the defenceless sea. But beyond<br />

the<br />

pain flowing through his body, the<br />

pain he<br />

must have felt for years was finally<br />

done.<br />

He could once again embrace her.<br />

His wife.<br />

My grandparents, together again at<br />

last. So now I own the candle that<br />

sat<br />

unused on his bookshelf, and I<br />

cannot<br />

of pressing a flame to the wick and<br />

then<br />

breathing in the smell his wife was<br />

fond of.<br />

Then, he shakes his head and<br />

returns to that<br />

day’s headlines. Candles burn out<br />

in a way<br />

his love for my grandmother never<br />

did.<br />

Her wick was evidently a bit shorthelp<br />

but wonder; am I wrong to burn<br />

it?<br />

Am I indulging myself by breathing<br />

in the scent? Can I be honouring his<br />

memory by putting this keepsake to<br />

its intended use? Or am I proving<br />

myself to have less fortitude than my<br />

grandad, who was made melancholic<br />

by<br />

memories of his wife but still held on<br />

to them? One of the problems with<br />

candles,<br />

similar to loved ones, is that they do<br />

not last forever. I will never see<br />

grandad at another Christmas<br />

dinner,<br />

complaining about our refusal to<br />

attend Mass the next morning, or<br />

slipping<br />

me money behind my parents’ backs.<br />

I<br />

will hold on to all those memories,<br />

though,<br />

and so even when this perfumed<br />

candle<br />

burns out I will keep them alive and<br />

bright.<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

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32<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

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33<br />



culture<br />


‘‘If we are to preserve culture, we must<br />

continue to create it.’’<br />

Johan Huizinga<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

35<br />


Prose<br />


OF<br />

OUR<br />

lives<br />

‘‘This story originally appeared in<br />

October Hill Magazine. It is drawn<br />

from diasporic experiences, her own<br />

as well as of others.’’<br />




O<br />

ur people are firm believers of destiny. We do not argue with fate.<br />

Destiny got us here, we must be grateful, Dad tells us. It’s also our<br />

destiny that, come fall, we’ll be leaving Montclair, New Jersey, and back<br />

to where our parents came from. Between now and fall, we — Millie,<br />

Lily, and I — have all the time to make opportunities out of choices,<br />

hedged as we are between the American way of life and our island of a Home. So, we<br />

plan ahead.<br />

With Dad home for dinner, Mum lets us slice and grind not because she wants<br />

us, girls, to have fun in the kitchen but because she could do with some help. Besides,<br />

she says, we girls from India must learn the art of cooking for any of us, to have any<br />

chance of getting married back home. Marrying suitable boys in Jalandhar, with whom,<br />

Mum understands as well as we do, we’ll have no common associations, is part of our<br />

destinies.<br />

Millie peels the ginger; Lily uses the mortar and pestle to grind nine pods<br />

of garlic, three teaspoons of coriander, and half a cup of sliced onions. Our folks hold<br />

on to whatever they can from back home — the heavy stone mortar and pestle is one<br />

of them. I can’t believe they carried it here. Holding a steel Katori, I am ready to add<br />

spoonful of water when Lily’s spice pastes become too dry.<br />

When the batches are done, we put them in line, like on a conveyor belt, for<br />

Mum to put in quick succession into the wok on high heat. Mum binds us to the kitchen<br />

until the process is over, but we obey without questions, it is part of our upbringing,<br />

until we can tweak the course of our lives.<br />

The chicken curry—thick, red, with its grease separating neatly—spreads its<br />

P<br />

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37<br />


PROSE<br />

PROSE<br />

aroma like a phantom across our tiny<br />

home. We are salivating; but I see<br />

Mum stern as ever, her steely eyes on<br />

the wok, stirring with vigor. It leaves<br />

me to wonder at the control she has on<br />

the combination of her gustatory and<br />

olfactory nerves in her orbital frontal<br />

cortex, as much as on us sisters.<br />

We look at each other, await<br />

her permission to disperse. Our ears<br />

are on the TV in the living room Dad<br />

is watching after driving his Ford<br />

Crown Victoria egg-yolk yellow cab<br />

all day. Or so we think; unless he’s<br />

sculpting his earnings, chiseling away<br />

the expenses to carve out his savings.<br />

Barely a hundred-and-a half tonight,<br />

said he when he came back tonight.<br />

He needn’t have—that showed on his<br />

face. The medallion, partly financed<br />

by his father, has already changed<br />

hands. Dad’s destiny has unfolded<br />

as the opposite of those behind the<br />

taxicab’s Plexiglas partition window.<br />

Mum works in a seveneleven<br />

here—her destiny too—from<br />

blowing into a clay oven in the family<br />

kitchen when she was a girl like us in<br />

Ludhiana. The kitchen she says was so<br />

big, it was half our home.<br />

We sometimes hate this<br />

home, stinking as it does with the<br />

smells of spices and curries; the<br />

reason why we never made friends<br />

who might want to pop in. Guys who<br />

judge us, girls who are curious in an<br />

uncomfortable way.<br />

Millie never had boyfriends,<br />

though one boy from High School<br />

asked her out. She was so scared Mum<br />

would find out that we made our own<br />

defense squad — Sisters’ Alert — and<br />

stuck to Millie like glue. The boy never<br />

approached her again. Or so we think.<br />

Unless the boy had guts to defy odds<br />

and Millie leads a secret life we’re not<br />

aware of.<br />

Lily’s different, letting Alan<br />

kiss her right after Sisters’ Alert<br />

disbanded.<br />

I am lucky to have both their<br />

examples ahead of me!<br />

When the chicken curry<br />

boils, Lily and I, having been granted<br />

leave, slip out into our dark backyard.<br />

Ghostly bushes cluster beneath the<br />

kitchen window sill, smelling, oddly,<br />

of trash and moss, but we’ve, kind<br />

of, begun to love it — the smell of<br />

escapades we sisters steal, whenever<br />

we can. We fill our lungs. Assimilate<br />

whatever we can before we miss them<br />

forever.<br />

Alan doesn’t know we’re<br />

leaving. Lily tells me how, before<br />

he went aboard the USS Virginia a<br />

fortnight ago, he touched her smooth<br />

brown skin, played with her gorgeous<br />

black hair. She says he loves the way<br />

she smells, curry and flaming oil.<br />

Lily takes out a cigarette<br />

she’s smuggled out, despite Mum,<br />

and lights up. She doesn’t exhale the<br />

smoke, telling me it is part of what<br />

she’ll carry back. She also tells me<br />

Allan will not be a part of her plans<br />

anymore.<br />

There’s a Harvest Moon in the<br />

night sky; a rare Friday the 13th too. I<br />

watch Lily closely. Her full rounded<br />

bosom heaves. Allan churns like an<br />

apparition in her heart, the flavors of<br />

his lips on her taste buds. He will singe<br />

her chest and burn her capillaries<br />

little by little. Lily, I presume, will stay<br />

truest to her destiny.<br />

***<br />

Our aunt’s visiting us. First<br />

time in years. When she’s around, we<br />

try to be as invisible as possible, fold<br />

ourselves like picnic chairs. And pay<br />

respects. She’s a paternal aunt and<br />

we treat our father’s lineage more<br />

seriously than our mother’s, so her<br />

one stare suffices to cover our knees.<br />

Mum uses her scarf to cover her head<br />

at home.<br />

Aunt sits under the warm sun<br />

making up for lost time she couldn’t<br />

be here. She’s a caregiver at a home<br />

for the elderly in Connecticut.<br />

A pug trespassed our<br />

front yard and vandalized Mum’s<br />

bougainvillea couple of months ago,<br />

I gave it a chase until it ran into our<br />

neighbor Ratul’s house. Nobody<br />

doubted anything when I returned<br />

flushed, hair awry and the bangle on<br />

my left hand missing. It was part of<br />

our plan to send the pug in, Ratul’s<br />

and mine, to snatch some moments<br />

together, out of our regimented lives.<br />

Rest of Ratul’s plans on<br />

how to make my parents abort their<br />

exodus plan—somehow, anyhow— is<br />

concealed in his heart. My plans hinge<br />

on that one lucky offer from colleges<br />

I’d applied secretly. Hope they come<br />

just in the nick of time.<br />

Aunt shouts, ‘Your hair isn’t<br />

in braids!’<br />

‘Sorry, Aunt Jasleen, I’ll be<br />

back and you can help me braid,<br />

getting you some mustard mango<br />

pickle from Aunt Preet next-door, in a<br />

jiffy.’ I say before jumping over the low<br />

bushes and disappearing into Ratul’s<br />

home before she can retort.<br />

Ratul rests his arm on my<br />

shoulder as we sneak out and walk<br />

down Bloomfield Avenue. He talks<br />

about his summer course. I survey<br />

his face—the lines that jiggle when<br />

he frowns, his firm jaw, and his<br />

lips. I barely hear him; yearning<br />

to pull him closer, think we could<br />

kiss soon, his lips on mine. Like<br />

last Friday.<br />

We near Chatni BYOB.<br />

Ratul waits tables here part-time to<br />

fund his education. Like destinies,<br />

we are firm believers in education.<br />

Degrees take us places. The street<br />

already smells of the familiar pickles<br />

and hand-tossed bread. Aromas are<br />

like apparitions too, following us<br />

wherever we are.<br />

Ratul doesn’t kiss, we hug<br />

like friends.<br />

I turn disappointed and back<br />

to my family which is busy ferreting<br />

about their lives for elusive, unknown<br />

destinies.<br />

***<br />

Things change rapidly a week<br />

before we’re to board the Air India<br />

flight from Newark. On a shopping<br />

trip two blocks away from our home,<br />

Lily is smothered by a mini van that<br />

appeared from nowhere. Mum firmly<br />

curses her fate, not the driver. She<br />

is hurt so badly she has fractures<br />

at three places in her right leg. The<br />

immediate diagnosis is that she may<br />

not be able to walk again. Besides,<br />

she is traumatized—can’t recognize<br />

us. Doctors say that’ll change as<br />

the incident plays in her head over<br />

and over, seeps into her stunned<br />

neurons and she finally accepts it.<br />

Dad is devastated. He makes more<br />

and more cuts and bruises on his<br />

notepad—he’s trying to carve out<br />

escapes from our entrapment. Our<br />

imminent migration is in disarray,<br />

his livelihood is uncertain and his<br />

daughters’ marriages under a cloud.<br />

Mum is worried — the cuts he makes<br />

shouldn’t travel from paper to his<br />

wrinkled skin. She always broods over<br />

the subject. Millie takes over charge<br />

of both home and outside. I’m awed<br />

‘‘The glance we share speaks<br />

volumes — the one you’d share<br />

when you know someone inside<br />

out.’’<br />

by her tenacity and help her as much<br />

as I can. We sisters, Millie and I, grow<br />

closer to each other more than at any<br />

point in our lives. It is only with her<br />

that I share that my offer letter from<br />

college is under the mattress in my<br />

room.<br />

Sometime during the second<br />

week after her accident, Lily makes a<br />

miraculous recovery. From behind the<br />

glass partition, we see her propped up<br />

by pillows on her hospital bed. Her<br />

face glistens in the sunshine filtering<br />

in from the window to her left, the<br />

stitches on her forehead and cheeks<br />

like victory posts.<br />

When we enter the room,<br />

she shrieks ‘Dad!’ I had never seen<br />

Dad cry so much. We gather around<br />

her and Dad hugs us like a bear. Our<br />

family has never felt more tightly knit<br />

in years. None of our eyes are dry.<br />

Soon, Lily is allowed visitors.<br />

Our neighbors visit her. Ratul and<br />

his parents come. It was destiny that<br />

his parents and mine should meet in<br />

a hospital room for the first time. In<br />

our families, despite the severance<br />

from our roots through time and<br />

geography, it is important that we gel<br />

well before the boy and girl tie the<br />

nuptial knot. Ratul and I watch closely<br />

and despite our palpitations, they<br />

bond satisfactorily. We look at each<br />

other like we’ve crossed our prelims.<br />

The glance we share speaks volumes<br />

— the one you’d share when you know<br />

someone inside out.<br />

From the next week or so,<br />

whenever Millie and I are at the<br />

hospital, I find her eyes roving about<br />

the reception area and over the<br />

corridor. Her eyes follow the junior<br />

interns as they walk in bunches<br />

towards their lecture hall. It is<br />

only when days pass that the most<br />

obvious gets to me. That boy from<br />

High School is here, a medical<br />

intern, and he’s stealing shy<br />

glances at Millie. She’s destined to<br />

marry Doctor Sanjeev Gowda two<br />

years later.<br />

He’s around us the next time<br />

we’re in a family hug.<br />


P<br />

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G<br />

E<br />

38<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

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39<br />


PROSE<br />

P<br />

POST<br />

SCRIPT<br />



OUR LIVES’’<br />

That fall came and passed us by. We brown<br />

girls charted the courses of their lives, rowed on high<br />

turbulent seas, and ducked when the storms came.<br />

We’ve circumvented odds, wrapped our selfhoods<br />

with the fine tapestry of common pleasures.<br />

Lily is in Jalandhar with Mum and Dad.<br />

She is off her wheelchair and takes long walks over<br />

the mud ridges around vibrant yellow mustard fields<br />

with Dad. Mum dotes on them, Lily tells me. Lily<br />

can’t believe how Mum, the fiery one we knew, is<br />

so mellowed down: she spends hours embroidering<br />

Lily’s kurta with neat little daisies. She’s calmer and<br />

happier. And no, they’re not scouting for grooms for<br />

Lily yet.<br />

I am at the Law School in Barcelona due to<br />

graduate next year. Whether we tweaked our fates or<br />

these were always our destinies we shall never know.

Collection<br />

FROM<br />

East and<br />


A collection of poetry by Ashley<br />

Pearson, featuring ‘‘Wet Market’’,<br />

‘‘Across the Globe’’, and ‘‘Whore’s<br />

Daughter’’.<br />


F R O M<br />

E A S T<br />

A N D<br />

E L S E<br />

Collection<br />

Across the<br />

Globe<br />

From Two Neighbors by Philip Metres<br />


W H E R E<br />




Unknown<br />

In Monmouth, clouds<br />

hangover blocking<br />

the blinding sun.<br />

It’s an abnormally<br />

warm spring and the<br />

humidity is thick in the air alongside<br />

clouds of pollen. I parked across the<br />

street from my old elementary school<br />

as children played on shiny, neon<br />

playground equipment and rolled<br />

around in the dewy grass. I introduced<br />

myself to an Americorps ambassador.<br />

The middle-aged woman mumbled an<br />

ope as she squeezed by me to enter a<br />

tiny conference room. Despite living<br />

in a tiny town, I had never met the<br />

woman. “Big place, isn’t it?” She said,<br />

winking in my direction. I laughed as<br />

she shut the door behind us.<br />

*cool in Korean<br />

**You’re pretty in Korean<br />

Down a busy street in some<br />

Jeollabuk-Do province, it’s happy<br />

hour. The wind picks up patron’s<br />

conversations and moves them down<br />

a block. Through a haze of smoke,<br />

a thirty something year old woman<br />

works the bar. The American air force<br />

men are slumped over on bar stools or<br />

leaning against cracked vinyl booths.<br />

The woman sees the younger girls<br />

enticed by the men and she shakes<br />

her head. “멋진*.” one of the bar girls<br />

whispers as she grabs another bottle<br />

of soju. One of the men clumsily says<br />

“당신은 예쁘다**” in vein of a failed<br />

variety show host. But, of course, the<br />

young girl blushes. They always do.<br />

P<br />

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E<br />

45<br />


POETRY<br />

T<br />

he American men call them bar girls, special entertainers, hostesses,<br />

comfort women, businesswomen.<br />

Nineteen, twenty-year-old girls serve drinks at sleazy Seoul bars a few miles from<br />

American military bases. Their tiny hips swivel to the beat of some<br />

throaty ballad. Sweaty Army men watch through thick cigarette smoke and a veil of<br />

drunkenness. Their eyes, glassy, stare down the tight white t-shirts<br />

of the “special entertainers” moonlighting as Americanized whores.<br />

Just like the movies,<br />

one girl in the break room rubs her swollen belly in front of a cracked mirror.<br />

She tugs at the hem of her tiny white tee to try to cover her underbelly.<br />

The doctor told her she’s five months along and having a girl with no last name.<br />

Her parents were childless for the longest time.<br />

Here she was pregnant at nineteen ---<br />

nothing but an ungrateful wrench and a cut branch from the family tree.<br />



A white orchid blooms outside.<br />

Her mother and father prayed to God every night, and she did too, within the walls of her cramped apartment above<br />

the noisy nightlife;<br />

She begged for forgiveness from her mother, father, and unborn daughter.<br />

To be blessed with an heir is to be able to provide 300 bags of rice<br />

and sacrifice your eyesight to the outside world.<br />

If a family cannot conceive a son, an obedient and filial daughter is the next best bet.<br />

A daughter who will sacrifice her livelihood for her father’s happiness and marry a nice business man. A daughter who<br />

will listen to her homesick mother and dwell around the river. A daughter who will be reborn as a white lotus flower<br />

and not a<br />

filthy soul.<br />

P<br />

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E<br />

47<br />


POETRY<br />

POETRY<br />

Somewhere in Central America,<br />

from a distance, a scrawny boy<br />

gapes at a local woman’s breasts. He tugs<br />

at his mother’s sleeve and exclaims, in a low drawl,<br />

“Look at those honeydews!” His mother shushes him and her face<br />

turns as red as the Trinidian flag. She clutches a wooden cross in her right hand<br />

like she is warning off the devil and<br />

the two disappear into another aisle of the busy wet market.<br />

It’s tourist season. You can tell by the sweaty American fathers in lounge shirts<br />

waving down cabs on every corner. The drivers crack their knuckles and chain smoke<br />

out an open window while children clamber in the backseats of their cars. They<br />

press their button noses against the windows like dogs and<br />

stare at the local children selling flowers on the streets.<br />

Everyone loves rosas on a sunny day.<br />

Once, you read an article about how people like to draw<br />

the exotic people and exotic places. The author claimed that everyone loved having<br />

their portrait drawn in a stranger’s leather bound sketchbook.<br />

You suppose that it is a nicer way to say<br />

“Look at those honeydews!”<br />

Never go on a vacation without a pen<br />

and sketchbook.<br />

You can pay everyone later.<br />

You’re sure Picasso paid his dues in the same way.<br />

The food stands fry fish like well oiled machines.<br />

Triglia and salmon stare up at<br />

everybody with dead eyes and glistening scales as they<br />

chug down the conveyor belt line:<br />

Seeing everything and<br />

saying nothing at all.<br />

WET<br />

MARKET<br />






to the bait. walking my hands west<br />

down the wooden dock burned feet east down<br />

the throughway sidewalk. head rolling down the train<br />

tracks in time to my steps. were we all of us put<br />

on this earth<br />

just to sweat?<br />

there is a question of death. melting<br />

on my tongue on my tongue on my tongue<br />

the sun<br />

is still in the womb.<br />

there is a certain word for bite.<br />

geese droppings on my scalp heart<br />

spleen liver kidney and what’s left<br />

of me now<br />

the plastic teeth flying off the stage<br />

are closer than they appear.<br />

will you wash off a sticky god<br />

or keep your tongue<br />

in your mouth?<br />

I sing for worms in the gut of the moon. the sun is<br />

oozing. my toes have all popped off their knuckles<br />

rolling loose down the street from a spilled sac<br />

like hard candies. tiny spiders<br />

scattering out of the nest. the concrete curbs<br />

into childhood.<br />

standing<br />

in a flat grove: pink tree, green dog.<br />

it is possible to calculate the probability of<br />

encountering the misshapen face of God. I<br />

read this once.<br />

the bus is here. I buy cream now by the pint<br />

and countless are the many-legged<br />

lies I’ve flushed down the toilet.<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

48<br />


the chalk, like all chalk, is water-soluble. I am no longer engaged in seeking out a<br />

dialogue.<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

49<br />


POETRY<br />

POETRY<br />



D<br />

ust caked feet slid into worn sandals<br />

Midnight skin sizzling under half of a<br />

yellow sun<br />

Cassava piled high upon Aunty’s head<br />

Buckets dragged miles to the nearest river<br />

Huts line the dirt roads of Uzoagba<br />

The metal roofs doing their best<br />

To keep the malaria ridden mosquitoes away.<br />

A simple visit to Grandma’s oil mill<br />

Mango trees adorning the compound<br />

Is all it takes<br />

To belong in this home away from “home”<br />

Uncle says Americans are dirty hipsters<br />

The English are the ones who have class<br />

Yet he hasn’t set his eyes upon either country.<br />

Maybe he sings British praises<br />

Because they are held responsible<br />

For making Nigeria who she is today.<br />

americans are<br />

dirty hipsters<br />


P<br />

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50<br />

Home is elastic<br />

memory<br />

embodying the<br />

mental snapshots<br />

our conscience materializes<br />

in those in-between moments,<br />

like flickers of sunrise<br />

pouring through indentations<br />

within the leaves’ whispers<br />

that mirror neighborhood gatherings<br />

under the trees’ shadows<br />

or scattered laughter surrounding<br />

the tranquil bonfire providing<br />

warmth<br />

to reminiscence alongside college<br />

friends.<br />

I embrace the comforting familiarity<br />

embedded in those stretches of<br />

space,<br />

like when our lips collided under the<br />

wooden canopy of the gazebo as<br />

the patter of the rain surrounded us<br />

in its own teardrop melody<br />

like<br />

when<br />

when our lips collided under the<br />

wooden canopy of the gazebo as<br />

the patter of the rain surrounded us<br />

in its own teardrop melody<br />

or even the rhythmic echoes of<br />

your velvet heartbeat when<br />

I laid my head on your chest while<br />

the pink skies covered us<br />

under their watchful gaze.<br />

A coworker once described<br />

home as the taste of roasted chicken<br />

P<br />

doused in melting A gravy,<br />

G<br />

E<br />

51<br />

a reminder of his local town<br />

and raucous meals with siblings<br />

A coworker once described<br />

home as the taste of roasted<br />

chicken<br />

doused in melting gravy,<br />

a reminder of his local town<br />

and raucous meals with siblings<br />

as the sun disappeared beyond<br />

the glowing diner windows<br />

framed by neon lights.<br />

What I learned from the<br />

twenty years I have lived so far is that<br />

the elasticity within our memory<br />

encourages us to bring home<br />

into coming expeditions and experiences<br />

adorning the unknown.<br />

twenty years I have lived so far is that<br />

the elasticity within our memory<br />

encourages us to bring home<br />


into coming expeditions and experiences

POETRY<br />

POETRY<br />

WHERE<br />

BODY<br />

‘‘Until the tide<br />

scores the soft fabric with boils, scabs, and<br />

distension anew / perfectly ruptured for me<br />

to scar my own ridgeline on. / Spine to spine,<br />

we meet. The earth and myself.’’<br />

T H E<br />

ENDS<br />

human from beast? I imagine I’m her most days. I’ll pinch<br />

the ends of time together and lay my spotted towel aside hers,<br />

fall asleep in her skin. I dream of what my hands will look<br />

wrinkled and weak with age. If I drift far enough, I recall<br />

unbidden memories of my father and I in the kitchen,<br />

a morning before I learned that time doesn’t pick favorites.<br />

I wonder if she flinches at the breeze or sighs with pleasure because,<br />

in the union of sun and ocean, she finds earthly catharsis.<br />

Today, I know myself on a shoreline without name or marker<br />

on the folding map. I forget my name. I lose sight of my breath.<br />

Without sand to inscribe the details in, what hope<br />

is there of remembering? My bedroom suddenly feels too hot,<br />

One Hundred Miles Inland. My fan broke weeks ago.<br />

The heat settles on my skin with emphasis. It grasps at my belt,<br />

begging me to relinquish decency in exchange for one wish.<br />

Seems like a bum deal, so I do it anyway. To know the ocean here<br />

T<br />


here’s a photograph that I carry in the pocket of my soul.<br />

In it, a woman rests on the coast atop a striped towel ––<br />

orange<br />

demands imagination. I do the only thing I can think of<br />

and lay down on the blue carpet. My every inhale is an elegy<br />

written in her neglected name. I become her. The fabric<br />

of the world beneath me bubbles with heat until my consciousness<br />

and blue –– with one leg bent at the knee. A stray arm covers her<br />

eyes from the sun. The ocean rages a meter from where she lies<br />

atop roiling obsidian. The earth is angry beneath her,<br />

vengeful but forgiving. I can’t imagine she’s comfortable.<br />

She sleeps anyway, alone on the edge of perception<br />

but for a photographer and a stray towel left as tithe<br />

to the sea for sins forgotten in the morning. Clad only<br />

in bathing bottoms, a blue slip of fabric curls into her hips.<br />

I found the 5x7 scrap in a shoe box from my father’s college years.<br />

One of life’s flickering stills fragmented in Kodachrome ink<br />

– red, yellow, and blue amalgamated with a calculating hand<br />

to tattoo the ephemeral in the flesh of time immemorial.<br />

She lay hidden under an image of a juvenile elephant with a<br />

comically long erection. Something about the juxtaposition<br />

A N D<br />

submits to the ineffable ease of the soil. Until the tide<br />

scores the soft fabric with boils, scabs, and distension anew,<br />

perfectly ruptured for me to scar my own ridgeline on.<br />

Spine to spine, we meet. The earth and myself.<br />



of brutish carnality alongside euphoric serenity led me to pocket<br />

them both. What chance possession of towel separates<br />


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P<br />

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POETRY<br />


My home is an iconic (re)presentation of war(riors),<br />

It shares boundaries with the ancient city of Ile-Ife;<br />

A land that houses 401 deities.<br />

My home is a land of vibrant people<br />

Who fought their way to remain relevant.<br />

In this poem, you won’t find the aftermath of the war;<br />

For today isn’t the time to tell the terrific tales<br />

Of how the war put bullet holes in many,<br />

Of how it rendered many homeless.<br />

To visit my home is to be welcomed<br />

By straight & serpentine routes,<br />

To bear the jagajìgì of the rickety bus,<br />

To feed your eyes with the commercial crux<br />

Of my home — filling stations and slaughterhouses.<br />

In my home, there is another home;<br />

Where I flip through father’s late monochromes,<br />

Where I’m kept awake by the cacophony of termites.<br />

A home where mama’s warm embrace engulfs me,<br />

Where she says her prayers by kneeling<br />

& rolling on the floor upon her son’s arrival.<br />

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stories<br />


‘‘A people without the knowledge of their<br />

past history, origin, and culture is like a<br />

tree without roots.’’<br />

Marcus Garvey<br />


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allen angel<br />


his wings were clipped on a tuesday,<br />

a belated christmas gift. there was gold<br />

on his hips and bamboo strapped to his back.<br />

he could draw picasso with no hands<br />

and best anyone at basketball. mom<br />

carried him home on a throne of jade and cobwebs.<br />

buffed with seaweed; he planted a flag<br />

at the top of the slide. middle fingers up and reigning<br />

with a double-barrelled gun. he knew how many seconds<br />

were in three hours (more than ten thousand),<br />

and he sprinted faster than all the girls, even<br />

when wearing khakis. just like harry potter, he<br />

had black hair and round glasses,<br />

so of course, he was the chosen one.<br />

with sharpie, he spelled it out<br />

he would dominate in seven different<br />

languages, including chinese and russian,<br />

and release honeybees into the skies.<br />

it was prophesied because it was written on creamcolored<br />

paper, he told himself,<br />

rubbing the asphalt off his elbows.<br />

after eleven years, the sun stopped<br />

shining on his shoulders. it was strange and certainly<br />

quite uncomfortable—the rice cakes he sold<br />

in his backyard went stale, and the stuffed manatees<br />

began jumping from his bed, and for the first time,<br />

his knees hurt from the tumble to earth.<br />

his billboards were ripped down by seagulls—<br />

from the wire frames spilled blood, deemed<br />

tasty by the gulls. they painted over his rainbow<br />

with black tar, sewed his teeth together with golden<br />

spool, smothered him with perfume and paychecks,<br />

and fastened a wristwatch around his neck.<br />

he walks with two feet, now<br />

burning tteok and scallions in the pan and<br />

eating them with a soup spoon. at midnight,<br />

his coven is lined with pearls and broken<br />

pencils. he sings hymns and takes off his shirt<br />

spreading citrus over the scars of<br />

God’s fallen angel.<br />


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Prose<br />

A depiction of a world that seems<br />

so different than our own on the<br />

surface but has striking similarities<br />

underneath.<br />




he stars shone<br />

Tbrightly<br />

above<br />

the battlefield.<br />

Tomorrow, the<br />

sound of screams<br />

would ring in the air, but for tonight,<br />

it was silent except for the rustling of<br />

the wind.<br />

Not far from the field, a<br />

camp of warriors rested for the<br />

night.<br />

They sat around bonfires,<br />

laughing and reminiscing. A small<br />

group of women, dressed in full<br />

armor, kept away from the festivities<br />

of the men around them.<br />

“How can they be so<br />

carefree?” the raven-haired girl<br />

said with disdain. She had her arm<br />

wrapped around the youngest girl,<br />

who was shaking in terror.<br />

“A lifetime of victories<br />

has made them cocky,” the older<br />

woman scoffed. She tied back her<br />

grey-streaked hair as she eyed the<br />

men around her with scorn. They<br />

too viewed her with suspicion and<br />

distrust.<br />

These were the first women<br />

in the Seafrontan army. Oblivious to<br />

the thrill of wartime triumph, they<br />

weren’t drunk on victory like the<br />

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men around them.<br />

The older woman knew that<br />

her role was crucial. She had fought<br />

tooth and nail to bring herself here,<br />

and she refused to die. The two<br />

women around her were randomly<br />

selected from women of fighting age<br />

and given the same training as the<br />

men.<br />

“I’m scared,” the littlest<br />

whispered.<br />

The raven-haired girl<br />

hugged her closer and the older<br />

woman started to sing a soft lullaby.<br />

She sang a long lost song of<br />

love and war. She sang of family and<br />

a home, and the journeys that take<br />

you far away. She sang of hope and<br />

victory.<br />

Her mother used to sing<br />

this song. That was so long ago, when<br />

the older woman was still a little girl,<br />

scared of the monster under her bed.<br />

Now here she was, determined to<br />


PROSE<br />

PROSE<br />

fight for her cause.<br />

When she finished, the<br />

littlest girl had her eyes closed.<br />

The older woman couldn’t help but<br />

smile ever so slightly. She pitied<br />

this girl, who was ripped from her<br />

home. Unlike the men around her<br />

that shared her age, she was never<br />

taught to fight. She was never<br />

taught to laugh at the shedding of<br />

blood.<br />

It was the older woman’s<br />

fault, that much she knew. But it<br />

was all for a noble cause. If she<br />

could prove that women were as<br />

effective on the battlefield as the<br />

men, it could be the tipping point<br />

for equality between them.<br />

If she must throw herself<br />

on the front lines for her cause, so<br />

be it.<br />

Tomorrow, blood would<br />

stain her spear and dry on her<br />

hands, as fire rained from above.<br />

But for tonight, the stars shone<br />

brightly above the battlefield.<br />

In the center of camp,<br />

far from the lullaby, an emperor<br />

watched his soldiers from his tent.<br />

He saw their revelry, he saw their<br />

cheer, and the sinking pit in his<br />

‘‘If she must throw herself<br />

on the front lines for her<br />

cause, so be it.’’<br />

stomach grew.<br />

“I’m leading them to<br />

their deaths,” he whispered, tears<br />

forming in his eyes. “How could I<br />

be so cruel?”<br />

“You mustn’t get so<br />

emotional before battle, dear<br />

brother,” the princess said with<br />

a little laugh. “You’ve never lost<br />

before.”<br />

The emperor clenched his<br />

fists. He knew the resentment that<br />

had been simmering in his sister<br />

for the last few months. She was<br />

the mastermind behind his military<br />

genius, but it was he who got the<br />

credit. For she was a woman and no<br />

one would trust her.<br />

Would she betray him?<br />

Their enemy had no such qualms<br />

about women. A woman was their<br />

monarch, and she was as feared<br />

and loved as any the emperor had<br />

ever known.<br />

He relaxed his hand. He<br />

must trust his sister, even if it was<br />

temporary. He knew that she at<br />

least had some pride in her nation.<br />

And change would arrive<br />

soon. Somewhere in the camp,<br />

three women were awaiting the<br />

battle. The emperor knew they were<br />

a sign of the growing movement<br />

within his people, and he was more<br />

than happy to oblige them.<br />

‘‘You’re right,” he said,<br />

trying to level his voice. The tears<br />

were gone now. “It shouldn’t be long<br />

now before the war is won and the<br />

Golden Gates will be ours.”<br />

He didn’t like the smile<br />

he saw on her face, but he brushed<br />

it aside. Now was not the time for<br />

anxieties. He must trust her, for<br />

without his sister, he and his armies<br />

would be doomed.<br />

She glanced out of the<br />

tent for a brief second. Then, after<br />

an uncharacteristic moment of<br />

hesitation, she said, “I know what<br />

you think of me. You believe me a<br />

fool enough to betray my nation,<br />

don’t you?”<br />

He stood frozen for several<br />

moments, as she stared at him with a<br />

scowl.<br />

“So I was right. Know one<br />

thing. My hatred for you is<br />

overshadowed by my love for this<br />

nation. I would never, ever think<br />

of betraying it.”<br />

With those as her last<br />

words, she stormed out of the<br />

command tent, leaving the<br />

emperor alone with his guilt and<br />

worries.<br />

Tomorrow, his soldiers<br />

would burn in front of him and he,<br />

too, would fall to the flames. But<br />

for tonight, the stars shone brightly<br />

above the battlefield.<br />

Not too far away, another<br />

camp awaited the morning. But the<br />

atmosphere was far different. It was<br />

somber and grim. A group of siblings<br />

huddled in their tent, pretending to<br />

ignore the harsh winds outside.<br />

“Why don’t you sleep?” the<br />

eldest sister said, her voice tense.<br />

“I’ll take the first watch.”<br />

“I’m not buying that again,”<br />

the elder brother responded, his<br />

voice much kinder. He was only a<br />

year younger than his sister, but she<br />

had never let him share any of her<br />

burdens. “You said the same thing<br />

last night and you never woke any of<br />

us up.”<br />

“I’m the eldest.” She had<br />

gotten used to keeping her voice<br />

calm, even when she wanted nothing<br />

more than to cry. She glanced at<br />

their three other siblings. They were<br />

curled up together underneath the<br />

shared blanket. She was their mother<br />

now and a mother was supposed<br />

to protect her young. “You and the<br />

others need to be well-rested for<br />

tomorrow’s battle.”<br />

“So do you,” he said in a<br />

whisper, grabbing her hand. She<br />

pulled away, feeling the tears in her<br />

eyes threaten to spill over. Her fears<br />

mixed with her exhaustion.<br />

“I’ll be fine.”<br />

That’s when the tears<br />

spilled over.<br />

Her brother held her close as they<br />

raced down her dark face. It was only<br />

‘‘Tomorrow, she would cradle<br />

their corpses, the hope in<br />

those eyes long gone.’’<br />

when they stopped that she dared<br />

form a sentence.<br />

“I’m so scared,” she<br />

whispered. “What if something<br />

happens to us? Who will take care of<br />

the little ones? And what if something<br />

happens to them?”<br />

She felt arms wrap around<br />

her waist. Her youngest sister stared<br />

back up at her with hopeful blue<br />

eyes.<br />

“Nothing will happen with<br />

you there,” she exclaimed. The eldest<br />

smiled.<br />

“I know, my little lovely,” the<br />

eldest said, stroking the youngest’s<br />

hair, pushing away her fears. The<br />

little ones needed to see her courage,<br />

not her tears.<br />

The other two were wide<br />

awake. The boys were twins, and they<br />

stared at the eldest with the same<br />

blue, hopeful eyes as the youngest.<br />

“If we stick together, no one<br />

can hurt us.”<br />

They curled up together<br />

that night, keeping each other warm.<br />

The eldest pushed down her worries.<br />

They had fought plenty of battles,<br />

right? And they had always survived<br />

together. Besides, only she and the<br />

second oldest would be fighting. The<br />

little ones would be helping in the<br />

medic tent.<br />

She let herself enjoy this<br />

moment of peace among her siblings.<br />

Tomorrow, she would cradle their<br />

corpses, the hope in those eyes long<br />

gone. But for tonight, the stars shone<br />

brightly above the battlefield.<br />

Further away from the<br />

camp, a queen visited her dragon.<br />

It was a gorgeous beast, with its<br />

brilliant orange scales, but a<br />

deadly one nonetheless.<br />

She had hoped to avoid this<br />

at all costs. She wanted to play the<br />

emperor’s game. She had done<br />

her best to keep her people safe<br />

without this option. She stayed<br />

calm, kept her head up, and hid<br />

her true power.<br />

But if the Seafront wanted<br />

the beast, they would get the beast.<br />

Any enemy of her people<br />

must face her flames of wrath. She<br />

was the Phoenix’s daughter, the<br />

Ash Princess, and Queen of the<br />

Golden Gates. They were fools to<br />

underestimate her power.<br />

“Must you do this?” a<br />

somber voice asked. The queen<br />

turned around to face her father, the<br />

Phoenix. He was a god to her people,<br />

but to her, he was simply a man with<br />

a great deal of power.<br />

“I will do what I must.”<br />

She stroked the warm scales of her<br />

beast. He would be her weapon, her<br />

greatest equalizer. “The Seafront<br />

invaded first. I am simply protecting<br />

my people.”<br />

“How many innocent people<br />

will die?”<br />

“No one in war is innocent.”<br />


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PROSE<br />

“Perhaps. But what of your own troops? Will they not feel the wrath of your<br />

flames?”<br />

The queen hesitated for a moment. “Of course not. I will not be attacking<br />

them.”<br />

“Fire isn’t something you can control. It spreads and spreads until it has<br />

reduced the world to ashes.” The Phoenix’s eyes flickered.<br />

“I am the Queen of Flames. They will obey me,” she snapped. “I’d rather<br />

you didn’t question my decisions.”<br />

“Don’t let your ego cloud you from making the right decision.”<br />

She took a deep breath, letting the flames of anger billow inside her. “And<br />

what do you know of ruling? You have always lived in comfort and warmth up in<br />

your palace, unbothered by the death and destruction of your people. But that isn’t<br />

me. Battle after battle, I watched my subjects get slaughtered. No matter what I have<br />

done in the past, the Seafrontan army will always seek to destroy mine. What other<br />

choice do I have? I must ensure my people’s survival.”<br />

The Phoenix sighed. Before leaving, he said, “You’ve made your choice.<br />

Pray you don’t regret it.”<br />

The queen huddled closer to her beast, soaking in his radiated warmth.<br />

She watched her father disappear. She almost missed his company as the wind bit<br />

harshly at her skin.<br />

Tomorrow, fire would flood the ground, the smell of melting flesh in the<br />

air. But for tonight, the stars shone brightly above the battlefield.<br />

An immortal watched the chaos from above. Her heart broke to see the<br />

world in such shambles.<br />

War, war, war. Was that all humans were fit for? Reaping blood until there<br />

was none left? Was that their fate?<br />

From her perch in the sky, the immortal’s sharp ears could make out the eldest<br />

women’s lullaby. It was soothing.<br />

She could feel it all; the apprehension, unease, protectiveness, and<br />

desperation.<br />

Among them all, there was a burning passion, a deep love.<br />

Will the mortals ever learn? Time and time again, they waged their wars<br />

and fought their battles. They claimed victory despite allowing many of their own to<br />

be slaughtered.<br />

The immortal sighed as she waited out the night. Despite her frustration,<br />

she was curious as to how the battle would play out.<br />

Tomorrow, the land would be drenched in blood. But for tonight, the stars<br />

shone brightly above the battlefield.<br />




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BROKEN<br />


A Vignette Memoir<br />


My Neighborhood<br />

I live on a street cleaved in two. Lake Street, a skinny<br />

stretch of narrow pastel houses wrapped around the edge of<br />

Presidio National Park, is technically two neighborhoods. The North side,<br />

the side where I live, is a proud member of District 2, which encompasses<br />

five of the richest communities in San Francisco – Marina, Cow Hollow,<br />

Sea Cliff, Pacific Heights, and Presidio Heights; places with the kind of<br />

white people who give out full size Hershey’s bars on Halloween. And the<br />

South side is part of the Richmond district — where old Chinese ladies<br />

swathed in puffy, cheap down-jackets totter along, dragging their rusted<br />

grocery carts across the cracks in the ancient sidewalks.<br />

At one point, the politically connected homeowners on the<br />

North Side of Lake convinced the supervisorial board that they belonged<br />

more with the manicured lawns of District 2 then with the Richmond’s<br />

fractured concrete – so the city snipped Lake in two. And I guess it just<br />

stuck. I guess people looked up at the North side — saw its shiny new<br />

sidewalks, crisp and clean as squares of white icing; its smooth wide<br />

face, tilted towards the cold yellow sun; its neat, clean staircases, steps<br />

stacked like rows of straight teeth — and then looked at the Richmond.<br />

The Richmond, where I once saw a drug bust across the street<br />

from the Walgreens I buy shampoo from, the Walgreens with the homeless<br />

guy who sits out at the front fiddling with the blunt end of a crumpled<br />

wax coffee cup. The Richmond, a residential district like a graying old<br />

man, with its crumpled houses, crumpled corners: This neighborhood<br />

is my city’s best-kept secret, this tiny, hushed place, tucked away at<br />

the fraying edges of a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco. There’s a store<br />

where you can buy bags of dusty Soviet candies and faded Russian<br />

paperbacks for two dollars each; there’s about ten thousand cheap dimsum<br />

restaurants; there’s a boba place and an old-fashioned ice cream<br />

shop and a big, gaping husk of a building that used to be a movie theater<br />

and hasn’t been turned into anything<br />

new, not yet. It still has its old sign:<br />

Alexandria, in blocky white print, the<br />

letters suspended twenty feet into the<br />

sky.<br />

But I live in District 2. Thirteen<br />

blocks from my house is Presidio<br />

Terrace, one of the most prestigious<br />

areas in Presidio Heights – a gated<br />

community with green groomed lawns.<br />

I’ve never been inside, and I can’t see<br />

over its walls, but I can sometimes see<br />

the tips of houses — their sprawling,<br />

stately brown roofs. I stare at them and<br />

I wonder how I am a part of a world that<br />

I can’t even fathom. And then I look back<br />

to Lake Street: my neighborhood, broken<br />

down a sidewalk.<br />

I wonder if I can cut myself<br />

in half, too. I’m half Korean and half<br />

European: this complicated mess of race<br />

that translates to Chinese when I’m in<br />

Marin and white when I’m in Korea and<br />

Hapa — mixed, like heaping scoops of<br />

my mom’s white-brown rice — when<br />

I’m visiting my Korean Grandma Soo.<br />

Something that becomes absolutely,<br />

strictly taboo when I’m with my<br />

conservative, Republican grandparents<br />

in Texas: Like if Grandma Marie<br />

squeezes her eyes shut for long enough,<br />

I’ll somehow just fade into a white<br />

granddaughter — pale blonde eyebrows,<br />

fat blue eyes, pink cheeks.<br />

And sometimes, when I look<br />

in the mirror, I can’t even pick myself<br />

apart. My Grandma Soo says that there’s<br />

not a single Korean person on Earth<br />

who looks like me, but sometimes I<br />

can’t even see a single trace of European<br />

anywhere: not in my small nose or<br />

my straight eyelashes or my fat moon<br />

cheeks. I lay everything out onto my<br />

palms: Richmond and Presidio Heights;<br />

Korean and European; Asian and white;<br />

maternal and paternal; smooth concrete<br />

and the Alexandria. Everything inside<br />

me, around me: Always divided.<br />


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P<br />

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5<br />




Snakes in the Ceiling<br />

When my maternal<br />

grandmother YangSoo Hwang was<br />

five, so small that her body was still<br />

‘‘I wonder if I can cut myself<br />

in half, too. I’m half Korean<br />

and half European: this<br />

complicated mess of race that<br />

translates to Chinese when<br />

I’m in Marin...’’<br />

all limbs and eyes, she lived in a large,<br />

Japanese-built house in Seoul — a<br />

big, stately home; a forgotten relic<br />

of Japanese imperialism. Her father<br />

was a cabinet member under the first<br />

South Korean president, Syngman<br />

Rhee, and she was accustomed to a<br />

life of relative luxury. How luxurious,<br />

I’ll never know: Her memories are just<br />

sea-glass — smooth, round shards,<br />

sanded down by time.<br />

Once the Korean War began,<br />

my great-grandmother bundled up<br />

my grandmother and her siblings<br />

and they traveled by ship to Namhae,<br />

a tiny island on the southern coast of<br />

Korea. Their house in Namhae didn’t<br />

have plumbing or electricity, but my<br />

grandmother wasn’t afraid. She made<br />

tiny lights out of fireflies: She’d catch<br />

them on hot summer nights<br />

and then trap them in sheets<br />

of paper so thin that she could<br />

see the bugs blinking quietly<br />

under the thick blanket of<br />

night.<br />

Then, when she was six, her<br />

mother and her older brother<br />

and sister got on a ship to<br />

travel back to mainland Korea,<br />

and they never came back. The<br />

way my grandma tells it, it’s<br />

like they were consumed by<br />

the sea: like a big wave curled<br />

over them and their ship just<br />

surrendered, sinking into its cold<br />

embrace. Somewhere<br />

at the bottom of the<br />

ocean, my greatgrandmother<br />

and<br />

her two children still<br />

lie silent, tangled<br />

together, eyes closed,<br />

resting, waiting, as<br />

time quietly sweeps<br />

over them.<br />

My grandma<br />

didn’t cry at their<br />

funeral. She says it’s<br />

because she was that<br />

young, but I think it’s because she<br />

was that brave. She played with the<br />

boys and refused to study her books<br />

and yelled when her brother said she<br />

was ugly. And when the adults told<br />

her that there were snakes hiding<br />

in the thatched roofs of the cottages<br />

they called homes, my grandmother<br />

would stay awake at night, staring at<br />

the ceiling. She’d blink into the black<br />

vacuum of the dark, wondering if<br />

a snake would drop down onto her<br />

face and curl against her neck. And<br />

she was afraid, but she still refused<br />

to move. She was the kind of girl who<br />

dug into her own turf. The kind of girl<br />

who confronted the night, who saw<br />

snakes shifting in the dark and set her<br />

jaw.<br />

She immigrated to the United<br />

States from Korea when she was<br />

twenty-two, in a Pan-Am flight that<br />

traced across the wrinkled winding<br />

fabric of the Pacific Ocean. Before she<br />

arrived on American soil, she dreamed<br />

of New England: a rustic, suburban<br />

America tinted golden by a Hollywood<br />

amber. She dreamed of autumn leaves<br />

turning crisp and red, of rain hushing<br />

over sidewalks, of branches shivering<br />

in the breeze. She dreamed of a squat,<br />

stately home with a creaky stair and<br />

a straight white fence and walls that<br />

exhaled and groaned when it stormed<br />

in the winter. She dreamed so hard<br />

for so long that when she arrived<br />

in Hawaii — a hot new world that<br />

had burst forth from its gritty sugar<br />

plantation industry — she squinted at<br />

the red earth that spread out beneath<br />

her feet, and she felt her heart fall into<br />

her legs.<br />

And then she blinked.<br />

Sixteen years earlier she had lost her<br />

mother and siblings to the ocean’s<br />

greedy stomach, and yet she had just<br />

traveled halfway across the globe. She<br />

stared at this foreign landscape, and<br />

decided that she wasn’t afraid.<br />

Tired, homesick, fearless; my<br />

grandmother fumbled through the<br />

next decade of her life. She worked<br />

as a receptionist at a hotel in Waikiki<br />

Beach, and then as a bilingual<br />

teacher for 40 students at Roosevelt<br />

High School in Honolulu. She met<br />

my grandfather, another Korean<br />

immigrant who worked at the local<br />

college, and they married each other<br />

in Hawaii, this place they both now<br />

called home. Two black-haired,<br />

round-faced Americans, standing<br />

together at the front of a church. And<br />

when my grandma didn’t understand<br />

Western wedding customs — when<br />

she turned her head away and said<br />

no when the minister said you may<br />

kiss the bride, and when she asked her<br />

friends to join her and grandpa on<br />

their honeymoon — my grandfather<br />

just pulled her closer against him, and<br />

they laughed. They settled together<br />

in a humble home; a little house once<br />

built for the family of a sugar cane<br />

plantation worker.<br />

Soon my mom came about,<br />

first as an idea and then as a small<br />

person, little legs and arms and<br />

a smooth round scalp. My mom<br />

was like me: a December baby that<br />

screamed her way into the world as<br />

a storm reared its ugly head outside,<br />

sharp winds shrieking and hissing as<br />

the heavens cracked open and rain<br />

tumbled out of grey angry clouds. My<br />

mom and I were both stormy women<br />

born on stormy nights, kicking to<br />

life as the God pounded down on the<br />

earth.<br />

But when my mom was born<br />

on midnight in Hilo Hospital in Hawaii,<br />

my Grandma Soo sat in her hospital<br />

bed, silent. She was cold and it was<br />

raining, and the window was open —<br />

someone had forgotten to close it. My<br />

grandma’s shoulder ached terribly, a<br />

cold throbbing pain. A shoulder ache<br />

in the hospital and a baby pulsing in<br />

her stomach, and yet she couldn’t<br />

bring herself to ring her buzzer and<br />

summon her nurse — a smiling white<br />

woman who spoke perfect English. My<br />

grandmother was so polite, so afraid<br />

to bother this American nurse, that<br />

she just pressed her lips together as<br />

her body roared alongside the storm.<br />

My grandmother. She wasn’t<br />

ever polite before. My grandmother<br />

who stared at snakes in the dark, my<br />

grandmother who leapt into a new<br />

life, my grandmother who refused<br />

to sink into a dark choppy sea. My<br />

grandmother, the wild woman, the<br />

woman like a storm, the woman who<br />

caught fireflies in her palms. Afraid to<br />

open her mouth.<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

68<br />

P<br />

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69<br />



Babies Behind Glass<br />

My Grandma Marie is from Texas,<br />

not Hawaii, and her family has been in<br />

America so long that they’ve forgotten<br />

where they even came from to begin<br />

with. She’s strong in a different way<br />

than my Grandma Soo. Grandma<br />

Marie’s wiry, bony skeleton is filled<br />

with a brittle sort of fortitude, the kind<br />

of strength that sneaks up on you.<br />

The one and only thing I’m<br />

sure about Grandma Marie is that I<br />

love her and that she absolutely loves<br />

me. She keeps a picture of me by her<br />

bedside table: I’m two years old and<br />

I’m wearing a blue cardigan and little<br />

purple corduroys and my hair is in<br />

two thumb-size ponytails. Grandma<br />

Marie says that I always slept with one<br />

eye open and one eye closed<br />

when I was an infant because<br />

I didn’t want to miss anything.<br />

But you never do miss anything,<br />

anyway, she says, and laughs.<br />

And then she smiles at me,<br />

fragile and small and strong.<br />

My Grandma believes<br />

in a God that she calls My God<br />

because He is her God — her<br />

God that helped her get good<br />

scores in high school; her God<br />

that made her the best midsize<br />

real estate agent that Spring,<br />

Texas had ever seen; her God that<br />

gave her the strength to overcome<br />

two bouts of cancer and a mild<br />

stroke; her God that helped Duke win<br />

their basketball game. And in church,<br />

when she looks up at her blue-eyed,<br />

blond-haired, white-faced Jesus, she<br />

sees herself — her own hair and eyes<br />

and skin. My grandma believes in her<br />

God and her priest and her favorite<br />

Coach Krzyzewski and her President<br />

Donald Trump, and she speaks about<br />

current events with a lighthearted<br />

indifference that borders on offensive.<br />

And she might be racist, because that<br />

one time my grandfather Bob said<br />

the n-word when we were getting gas<br />

at the Shell in Texas, she didn’t say<br />

anything — just sat in the car with<br />

her hands in her lap, her mouth tight.<br />

Her first son Stephen — my dad’s<br />

older scary brother — was born as an<br />

innocent little infant on June 3, 1963.<br />

Before giving birth, my grandmother<br />

sat in her car in the hospital parking<br />

lot for hours because she didn’t have<br />

the money to pay the extra bed fees.<br />

Right after midnight she hustled in<br />

the hospital — dragging her swollen<br />

belly with her like a watermelon —<br />

and Steve was born by one o’clock<br />

in the morning, his tiny screams<br />

erupting into a pitch-black sky.<br />

After he was born, my<br />

grandma’s priest, Father Flanagan,<br />

came to visit her and little Steve. They<br />

walked down the hospital corridors<br />

until they found the viewing-glass:<br />

babies on one side, bundled in cotton<br />

‘‘ One of the greatest<br />

challenges is being yourslef<br />

in a world that’s trying to<br />

make like everyone else.’’<br />

blankets and placed in lined plastic<br />

beds, and parents on the other.<br />

Grandma Marie looked down the line<br />

of perfect pink babies and then she<br />

saw one who didn’t quite fit. The baby<br />

didn’t have hands, just smooth fleshy<br />

stubs. Its mother had taken this drug<br />

called thalidomide, which leads to<br />

genetic mutations — or deformations,<br />

as my grandma calls them. The<br />

parents didn’t want to own their<br />

child anymore. Not this stubby little<br />

wreck of a baby. And my grandma<br />

thought about her own son Stephen,<br />

her little doll of an infant boy, all soft<br />

skin and baby smell. And she and<br />

Father Flanagan both felt like crying.<br />

My Grandma Soo always tells<br />

me too much of everything – she can<br />

talk for hours about herself as long<br />

as I just sit and nod and smile – but<br />

my Grandma Marie never tells me<br />

enough of anything. I’m always left<br />

to wonder, left to color in the hollow<br />

gaps in the frail spiderwebbing of<br />

everything I know about her. She<br />

hands me fragments of stories like<br />

shards – tiny little slips – and I’m stuck<br />

trying to piece them together until my<br />

fingertips weep small bloody tears.<br />

Grandma Marie, if that had been<br />

your baby, would you have cried? And<br />

what did you think when you saw<br />

me across the hospital glass? Stubby<br />

little baby fingers and tight almond<br />

eyes? Your Asian granddaughter.<br />

My parents told me that you<br />

wanted to name me Kimberly. But<br />

I’m not Kimberly, Grandma, I’m Kaya<br />

— Kaya like Gaya, like 가야,<br />

like the name my immigrant<br />

grandparents chose for me<br />

because that’s tradition,<br />

Kaya like an ancient South<br />

Korean kingdom that’s<br />

crumbled into more myth<br />

than history. I know I’m not<br />

what you expected. I know<br />

that when you prayed to your<br />

God for a granddaughter,<br />

she didn’t look like me.<br />

And I didn’t expect a<br />

grandmother like you.<br />

Grandma Marie, what did<br />

you think when my dad married my<br />

mom, this five-foot-two tidal wave<br />

of a Korean-American woman? Their<br />

wedding in Hawaii, when Mom wore a<br />

hanbok and Dad grinned at her goofily,<br />

all teeth? Mom’s parents who still<br />

speak with an accent, words dancing<br />

awkwardly across their Korean<br />

tongues? You, sitting there, with your<br />

Fox News and quiet indifference.<br />

P<br />

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Grandma, I want to love you. Please,<br />

let me love you. Don’t make it so hard.<br />

I’ve watched you fumble through<br />

three illnesses that should have taken<br />

you down and somehow you can still<br />

infuriate me even though you can’t<br />

walk anymore. Your legs, then your<br />

speech — now even that’s slurring<br />

away. How much more can your husk<br />

of a body even take, Grandma? I want<br />

to forgive you but sometimes it feels<br />

like I can’t. I want to but I just can’t.<br />

Please, please, I want to forgive you<br />

before you die, before I have to see you<br />

die, before you’re just a wrinkled shell<br />

in a coffin that reeks of everything<br />

I’ve left unsaid. It’s like a fifth limb,<br />

‘‘My future is<br />

a waterlogged<br />

butterfly. I cradle<br />

it in my hands<br />

and watch it take<br />

shape...’’<br />

everything unspoken between us,<br />

everything we tuck inside ourselves.<br />

And I want to believe you, Grandma.<br />

More than anything else I want to<br />

believe you love me too.<br />

I want everything for you,<br />

Grandma Marie, for you, you soft<br />

strong woman, my grandmother. I<br />

pray to a God that is not my own to<br />

give me the courage.<br />

different. They are both strong<br />

American woman who watch and<br />

listen and wait. They aren’t afraid of<br />

anything, not men or ships or cancer.<br />

And when my grandmothers fall<br />

asleep, they both dream the same<br />

dreams for me. They map my life<br />

across their palms: A future that starts<br />

at a prestigious college and ends with<br />

money, and a family, and a home, and<br />

most of all, happiness — at the end of<br />

the day, all they really want is for me<br />

to be happy.<br />

My future is a waterlogged<br />

butterfly. I cradle it in my hands and<br />

watch it take shape: one wing fluttering<br />

to life, and then another. Maybe I can’t<br />

feel my ancestors. Maybe I can’t speak<br />

Korean and maybe I don’t know where<br />

my father’s family comes from. But I<br />

can feel my grandmothers’ breath on<br />

my back. And when I stay still, I can<br />

almost hear their heartbeats in my<br />

chest, slow and small.<br />

I am their stormy<br />

granddaughter, and I will inherit their<br />

strength, but not their silence. I am<br />

Presidio Heights and the Richmond.<br />

I am all of my grandmothers’ stories.<br />

Chopsticks and forks, hanboks and<br />

jeans, Mom and Dad, Soo and Marie.<br />

And one day I might be a grandmother<br />

too, dreaming dreams for somebody<br />

else. But today I am just a girl, a girl<br />

who is two things, two neighborhoods.<br />

A girl who might forgive. A girl who<br />

sleeps with one eye open and isn’t<br />

afraid of snakes.<br />

My Grandmothers’ Hopes<br />

My two grandmothers,<br />

Grandma Soo from Hawaii and<br />

Grandma Marie from Texas, are<br />

sometimes more similar than<br />


P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />


POETRY<br />

B O G<br />



i<br />

gbo woman uprooted. igbo man disavowed. these are my parents. the first teachers of the house. 16&17. igbo<br />

woman and man made the choice to leave their village. to come to america. the land<br />

of promise. the land of dreams. the land where they would meet again and create a new life.<br />

similar to how God created the earth.<br />

on the first day, they met at a party. on the second day, they had their first date. the week passed,<br />

igbo woman and man slowly intertwined their lives together. on the seventh day, they were<br />

married.<br />

16&17. both ages have passed me by. in those days, igbo woman and man came to america.<br />

sometimes i wonder what my life would be. if igbo woman and man stayed in their soil.<br />

sometimes i wonder if i would’ve had the courage. to uproot myself.<br />

in another life. i am the igbo woman uprooted. the one whose life changed.<br />

not because of anybody else. but because of me. like a weed, i will pull myself from the comfortable. dark. soil<br />

and toss myself to the side. to gain a new life, i must cast away my old one.<br />

Ihave the predicament<br />

of palms down my trousers, my collar:<br />

the inexplicable urge to choke on air.<br />

there is something vile from knowing<br />

every corner of the surface<br />

and every square-inch<br />

I’d rather not reveal<br />

in its fullest.<br />

this mouth to drink from?<br />

this skin covered head to toe in moss,<br />

jacket caught, shoes slipping on wet rocks.<br />

bog body preserved by something that killed me<br />

red mangle clay mangled<br />

its arms twisted underneath a man-grove’s prop roots.<br />

in its wholeness I wanted to be digestible.<br />

chewed first to soft pliant parts<br />

dampened, pointy, deprived<br />

made of bones and water.<br />

in its wholeness I wanted to be digestible.<br />

chewed first to soft, pliant parts<br />

dampened, pointy, deprived<br />

made of bones and water.<br />

hand-crushed star anise, viviparous seeds<br />

mixed in bubbled, candied brackish<br />

a hardened pit with holes, on<br />

the inside of its throat. halkum.<br />

everything I touch turns green,<br />

that it only moulds to inherit your eyes<br />

when you nurture it. this bog body.<br />

find me in these waning peatlands<br />

find me where I kept it.<br />


P<br />

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G<br />

E<br />

74<br />

P<br />

A<br />

G<br />

E<br />

75<br />


POETRY<br />

POETRY<br />

THE<br />

FRUIT<br />

OF<br />

YOUR<br />

LABOUR<br />



i<br />

haven’t had a fig<br />

since the last time i sat under<br />

my grandfather’s fig tree<br />

he plucked it from the stem<br />

and fed it to me<br />

while the hot<br />

algerian sun<br />

shone down on us<br />

someone once told me that<br />

figs are considered flowers<br />

but i cannot think of him<br />

without thinking of fruit<br />

embodiment of sweet nourishment<br />

the way he would walk down<br />

the marble steps of our family home<br />

holding onto a watermelon<br />

from the vendor on the side of the road<br />

just so we could have a chance to sit together<br />

and say nothing<br />

i sit in a different kind of silence<br />

now he is gone<br />

erased from our genealogy<br />

a severed branch<br />

of our family tree<br />

i haven’t been back in years<br />

since they cut down the fig tree<br />

home reminds me of a cemetery<br />

you can’t make wreaths out of figs<br />

they’re not known for lasting long<br />

so i scour every market<br />

to bring back that feeling<br />

but without him every fruit<br />

leaves a sour taste in my mouth<br />


P<br />

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G<br />

E<br />

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P<br />

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E<br />

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POETRY<br />

PROSE<br />

The beginning was muddy disarray, now a farm.<br />

The mud, covered with fallen mangoes; bruised and hanging from a broken branch.<br />

Amidst which I was born.<br />

The juice of the slice,<br />

The slice stabbed with a knife and raggedly cut<br />

Dripped past my lips,<br />

Choosing to settle in the haven of my collarbones, now covered with blobs of fat,<br />

And still, they managed to seep past my neckline,<br />

Down the slopes of my premature breasts,<br />

Until my mother ran towards me with smiling eyes.<br />

Shouldn’t she be disgusted?<br />

Those were the earlier days.<br />

When I was the mango juice forced out of the succulent mess<br />

And my home – its definition still inexplicable.<br />

Now I want to leap across,<br />

The leap is one of faith<br />

And go back when the mangoes were mangoes<br />

And not a reminder of something which I was unable to define, namely home.<br />

A home now no longer home,<br />

The reputation besmirched with my grandparent’s trip to heaven<br />

The essence of it evaporated with them.<br />

Maybe the concrete bricks slapped across with cement and forced to stick together were a<br />

domicile only to my skin-ular frame.<br />

Maybe I belong to the mud,<br />

To the beginning of it all.<br />

I desire to be covered in the pulpy filth<br />

And be drowned in the sludgy filth,<br />

None of it is filth.<br />

It is Home.<br />



W<br />

hen the stench<br />

b e c a m e<br />

unbearable, she<br />

took the liberty to<br />

flip over to his end.<br />

A bigger, softer and better side. A side<br />

to breathe and think, for once.<br />

The stench seemed to pierce<br />

through her fabric. It had grown on<br />

her, and she with it.<br />

Her olfactory sense was no<br />

recent victim to an assault<br />

of this kind, and with<br />

every breath she took,<br />

she became dimly aware<br />

of her circumstances that<br />

were more or less beyond<br />

her control.<br />

The stench had<br />

been an inevitable part<br />

of her life - her Nani and<br />

Mamma’s bedrooms<br />

smelling worse in<br />

superlative degree.<br />

As she felt her<br />

body getting sucked into<br />

the bed with venomous<br />

intensity, she couldn’t help<br />

think of the only other<br />

space where her Mamma<br />

and Nani were confined to<br />

performing privately.<br />

‘We all boil at<br />

different temperatures,’<br />

Mamma would tell her<br />

while preparing her<br />

father’s evening tea. She<br />

would watch the leaves<br />

infuse, trying to match it<br />

with the passion of her<br />

life trying to seep out. She<br />

could never tell if she was<br />

past her boiling point.<br />

All those long hours in<br />

the kitchen with Mamma and Nani,<br />

watching them obliterate all traces<br />

of their ambitions to feed the bigger<br />

aspirations of their better halves, the<br />

husbands had surely found the right<br />

palms to grease.<br />

Sugar. Spice. Woman. 5 letters. Delicious<br />

congruency.<br />

‘Remember to never forget –<br />

that cruelty and benevolence are but<br />

the shades of the same colour.’ She<br />

would down Nani’s advice along the<br />

turmeric milk; her Nani’s strategy<br />

to immunize her against domestic<br />

vexations.<br />

‘Remember to never forget.’<br />

She never forgot – believing that her<br />

relationship would move past all<br />

the hiccups, priding that her hatred<br />

lasted no older than a heartbeat. But<br />

it was never easy- even if she were<br />

happy and sweetened his tea beyond<br />

measure, a pinch of salt was all that it<br />

took to restore lucidity.<br />

The kitchen became a relic of<br />

marital discord, her Mamma and Nani<br />

its monument of utmost patience and<br />

virtue. All those injured rose-tinted<br />

memories preserved by tides of honey<br />


and dashes of lemon haunted her.<br />

That nugget of wisdom, the<br />

morsels of logic that they had passed<br />

on to her as recipes -the key to a man’s<br />

heart, but with a hint of chequered<br />

history, look how they now melt her<br />

corrupt eyes.<br />

Unlike a carefree fish<br />

swimming unbeknownst in capricious<br />

waters, she now seemed to understand<br />

why her Mamma cried her eyes out<br />

while deveining the<br />

shrimps, why she<br />

couldn’t distinguish<br />

the blood red from<br />

the chilli red, why<br />

on certain occasions<br />

the curry tasted<br />

unusually spicy, and<br />

why, after a certain<br />

time, Nani’s eyes<br />

wouldn’t smart upon<br />

peeling onions, or<br />

shed a few tears upon<br />

receiving bruises<br />

from a knife.<br />

It was all coming<br />

back in ludicrous<br />

amounts, to undo the<br />

defence, to unstitch<br />

the wounds, to invoke<br />

the wrath – the smell<br />

of his favourite dish,<br />

roasted aspirations,<br />

the sweaty stews, the<br />

battered skeleton,<br />

the whipped heart,<br />

the sleazy salads,<br />

the blood, bones<br />

and butter. A<br />

protracted revenge<br />

of generations<br />

rendered right.<br />

The domestic goddess was<br />

certain of many a things -that the<br />

way to a man’s stomach is through his<br />

heart, and from the heart to the heart<br />

of the matter.<br />

However, what she still couldn’t<br />

decipher was the overpowering<br />

ingredient of that unbearable reek –<br />

the stench of the living dead, or of a<br />

staling violence.<br />


P<br />

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78<br />

P<br />

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79<br />


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<strong>ISSUE</strong> II | 2020: THE ODYSSEY<br />


The Global Youth Review<br />



P<br />

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<strong>ISSUE</strong> THREE<br />

AKINRINADE FUNMINIYI ISAAC is a Nigerian realtor and writer with works appearing<br />

in Writers Space Africa Magazine, Stardust Haiku, Olney Magazine, Praxis Magazine, Word<br />

Rhymes and Rhythm (WRR) and elsewhere. His works revolve around silence, home,<br />

heritage, humans, among others. He’s an ardent lover of art and a promoter of poetry. He’s<br />

the initiator of two poetry collections: Si(gh)lent Night (2017) and 60 Seconds Silence (2020).<br />

He can be reached @esv_keks on Twitter and Instagram.<br />

AKSHITA KUMAR is a 16-year-old girl who finds the essence of gratitude within poetry<br />

and the things which inspire her poetry. Being born in a place where there were farms<br />

not so far away, she appreciates her heritage in the sweet and juicy mangoes which were<br />

plucked in hundreds. Now, living miles away from her place of origin, she remembers it<br />

all and nostalgia seeps out of the mangoes available in the city. She<br />

often likes to include strong imagery in her poems to show people<br />

how and what she feels, she aims to make her readers visit the words.<br />

ANOUSHKA SRIVASTAVA is a Textile Revivalist hailing from the<br />

land of cultures; India, pursued her Bachelors in Textile Design from<br />

National Institute of Fashion Technology. She is a passionate, mindful<br />

and an aspiring designer who is strongly influenced by her deep<br />

interest in the arts, aesthetics, and culture of India—all places where<br />

she likes to draw inspiration for her works. ‘‘Chanderi: A Story of<br />

Traditions and Threads’’ presents an inside look at the real India.<br />

A.R. SALANDY is a mixed-race writer who travels frequently and has spent<br />

most of his life in Kuwait jostling between the UK & America. Anthony’s work<br />

has been published 175 times. Anthony has 2 published chapbooks titled The<br />

Great Northern Journey (2020, Lazy Adventurer Publishing ) & Vultures (2021,<br />

Roaring Junior Press). Anthony is the Co-EIC of Fahmidan Journal.<br />

ASHLEY PEARSON is a junior at Knox College. She is double majoring in<br />

Biology and Creative Writing with hopes to continue her education in Dental<br />

School. She hails from Monmouth, Illinois. Her pieces reflect on her upbringing<br />

in a small town in the American Midwest with acknowledgement of her origins<br />

in South Korea. Ashley is adopted and identifies as Korean-American.<br />

ASSIA MESSAOUDI (she/they) is an Algerian poet with a passion for<br />

harm reduction and social research. Over the years writing became one of<br />

Assia’s biggest forms of catharsis. Her piece “the fruit of your labour” is in<br />

memory of her grandfather. In many cultures, sharing fruit is an act of<br />

love. Due to the language barrier between Assia and her grandfather,<br />

e eating fruit together was their main form of communication. This<br />

poem is Assia’s act of love to her grandfather, and an act of love to<br />

herself. To find out more about Assia, visit assiamessaoudi.com.<br />

B. PICK is a lesbian poet based in small town Canada. They are an<br />

Honours B.A. candidate in English and Cultural Studies at Western<br />

University. When they’re not writing, b. enjoys baking, earl grey tea, and<br />

jewelry making. They hope to someday bake the perfect bagel.<br />


BUKUNMI OYEWOLE is a travel and documentary<br />

photographer who loves to see the world through the lens of his<br />

camera. He has traveled round Nigeria, visiting over 19 states on<br />

photo tours and documentaries. One of his many dreams is to<br />

travel around the world, capturing astonishing moments with his<br />

camera.<br />

CHINONYE ALILONU is a Nigerian American high school senior<br />

exploring her newfound love of poetry. When she isn’t pouring over her<br />

writing journal, you can find her with her friends, watching kdramas or<br />

doing her hair.<br />

GLORIOUS KATE AKPEGAH is an aspiring photographer and poet from<br />

Cross River State, Nigeria, who finds art liberating and an essential part of<br />

living, She uses photography and poetry to capture the beauty of nature<br />

and everyday life. Her pieces ‘‘Sister’’, ‘‘Sunset in the Neighborhood’’ and<br />

‘‘Home Community’’ were taken during a visit to her family, the photos<br />

remind Her of home which has always been a happy place. When she’s not<br />

doing photography or poetry, She’s studying to get an MBBS degree at the<br />

University of Calabar, Nigeria.<br />

JP LEGARTE is a Pilipino-American junior at University of Illinois at Urbana-<br />

Champaign majoring in Creative Writing. He desires to provide spaces through<br />

his poetry where others can process their own emotions, ponderings, and<br />

anything else within life. He was born in the Philippines before moving to the<br />

United States when he was one. His poem “Elastic Memory” details how home/<br />

heritage can be described as such because individuals bring home with them<br />

within treasured memories of places, people, and experiences, and “Younger<br />

Memoirs” serves as an example of this, expanding upon what JP considers to be<br />

major parts of his home/heritage.<br />

KATE ROWBERRY is a Californian high schooler who is inspired by words<br />

she reads, scenarios she imagines, and events she lives. Her work has been<br />

recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She enjoys the arts<br />

of writing and editing; reading is also one of her favorite activities, but<br />

she is somewhat guilty of tsundoku. That stack of books to read has to<br />

end at some point, right?<br />

KAYA DIERKS is a mixed-race writer from the United States and an<br />

incoming freshman at Yale University. She’s passionate about writing<br />

contemporary fiction and narrative nonfiction that represents honest<br />

and unvarnished American experiences. She tweets @kayadierks.<br />

KAYLEIGH SIM is a Southeast Asian writer from Singapore living<br />

in San Diego, California, and is currently an Executive Editor for<br />

Polyphony Lit. Her poems, “papilionanthe” and “burning haibun for<br />

my ancestry”, are inspired by her experience living far away from her homeland and her<br />

emotional distance from her roots. Kayleigh loves to write about her Singaporean-Chinese<br />

heritage, and her work has been published or is forthcoming in Trouvaille Review, Cathartic<br />

Lit, Intersections Magazine, Poetically Magazine, Second Chance Lit, Interstellar Lit, Aster Lit,<br />

and elsewhere.<br />


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LAYAN DAJANI is a filmmaking student<br />

and self-taught graphic designer from<br />

Palestine. Her work mostly reflects her<br />

emotions and thoughts on her life and<br />

certain issues and themes, and she gets<br />

inspired a lot by her hometown, nature,<br />

music and literature. Her piece, “The Home<br />

That I’ve Never Been To”, Layan explores<br />

her feelings towards her hometown,<br />

Palestine; she never visited the nation, but<br />

longs to visit because it is her home—her<br />

true and only home.<br />

MANDIRA PATTNAIK is a poet and fiction<br />

writer from India. Her work has appeared<br />

or is forthcoming in Flash International<br />

Short-Short Magazine, Atlas & Alice, Citron<br />

Review, amongst others. Her story originally<br />

appeared in October Hill Magazine (Winter<br />

2020 Edition). It is drawn from diasporic<br />

experiences, her own as well as of others.<br />

Growing up in different cities, Mandira<br />

identifies with the ‘perpetual outsider’, and<br />

believes home is where one believes it to be<br />

and heritage is something one can never shed<br />

or wish away. Find more of her writings at<br />

mandirapattnaik.wordpress.com. She also<br />

can be found on Twitter @MandiraPattnaik.<br />


young Australian writer of Filipino<br />

descent. As an aspiring psychiatrist<br />

with an affinity for the human psyche,<br />

Alexza uses writing to explore the<br />

depths of human nature. She hopes<br />

that her writing will open the minds<br />

of her readers and tug at their<br />

heartstrings while expressing the<br />

turbulent beauty of life. Alexza’s<br />

piece, “Letters from Home”, is a<br />

parallel story following the lives of<br />

a precolonial Filipina and a young<br />

OFW. Poetic prose of some sorts, her<br />

piece is dedicated to the past, present,<br />

and future people of the Philippines.<br />

OLIVIA MCCANN is a poet, freelance videographer,<br />

and prior educator based out of Denver, Colorado.<br />

She often includes themes of love, feminism,<br />

solitude, heartbreak, and healing in her work. She<br />

has submitted and had work accepted into The Fat<br />

Zine, Coffee People, Drip Zine, Osier Root Zine, and P<br />

Magazine. She enjoys experimenting with language<br />

and collaging together poems out of singular random<br />

words.<br />

ROSS WALSH [he/him/sé/é] is<br />

a Wexford-born journalist and<br />

writer based in Dublin, Ireland.<br />

He has been writing poetry for<br />

over a decade now, inspired<br />

by the stunning landscapes<br />

of Ireland from the coast of<br />

Waterford to the boglands of<br />

Donegal. He has a huge interest<br />

in history, and dreams of one<br />

day owning a house where all the<br />

walls are covered by bookshelves.<br />

His poem, ‘‘Indulgent Spices’’,<br />

was written after the death of his<br />

grandfather and seeks to explore<br />

the concepts of loss, grief, and<br />

the heritage left to us by previous<br />

generations.<br />

<strong>ISSUE</strong> THREE CONTRIBUTORS<br />

TRISHA REDDY is a fourteen-year-old<br />

author from New Jersey who uses she/<br />

her pronouns. She developed a passion<br />

for writing when she was ten, starting<br />

with fanfiction. Trisha primarily<br />

writes fantasy, with strong themes<br />

of war and corruption. She’s heavily<br />

inspired by her own experiences as<br />

a bisexual Indian American, as well<br />

as the Hindu mythology she grew up<br />

hearing. “Antebellum” was inspired<br />

by her sixth-grade obsession with<br />

the world wars. She drew on typical<br />

fantasy elements to build a world that<br />

seems so different than our own on the<br />

surface but has striking similarities<br />

underneath.<br />

MATT HSU is a junior at San Francisco<br />

University High School in San Francisco,<br />

California. He works as a poetry/prose editor<br />

at Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine and<br />

The Formula. Currently he’s working on a YA<br />

novel about a lonely assassin. In his spare<br />

time, he enjoys playing tennis and eating<br />

dark chocolate.<br />

MAKENNA DYKSTRA (she/her) is 20<br />

years old and pursuing an M.A. in English<br />

Literature at Tulane University in New<br />

Orleans. She can often be found on Twitter<br />

@makdykstra or in the local parks, writing,<br />

reading, or admiring the oak trees.<br />

NINA SIKANDAR is an eighteen year old living on<br />

the southernmost point of mainland Asia. When she’s<br />

not writing her best lines at 2AM, she’s learning how<br />

to code and dabbles in editorial illustration.<br />

ZOE FRIEDLAND was born in<br />

Seattle, USA, where they are<br />

currently studying classics,<br />

english, and biology at the<br />

University of Washington. they<br />

tweet @chalcidoidea.<br />

OLGA MUSIAL (she/her) is<br />

a mostly-fiction-sometimesinspired-to-write-poetry<br />

writer<br />

and high school student with a<br />

passion for words and literature.<br />

She lives in Warsaw, Poland, and<br />

when not writing, you can find her in used<br />

bookstores, where she often finds inspiration<br />

for her pieces. She is a dedicated Garamond<br />

enthusiast. For more literary endeavours, follow<br />

her on Twitter at @olgamusial.<br />

SONAKSHI SRIVASTAVA is an MPhil candidate<br />

at Indraprastha University, Delhi. She previously<br />

graduated from the University of Delhi, and<br />

her works have appeared in Rhodora Magazine,<br />

OddMagazine, Feminism in India. She has been<br />

the recipient of the national story writing<br />

competition, “MyStory Contest” organized by<br />

TATA LitLive, the international literature festival<br />

of Mumbai, thrice.<br />

SYNA MAJUMDER loves to<br />

write about mocktails, bass<br />

lines, and horrible people. Their<br />

work has been published in<br />

The Daily Drunk, Paper Crane,<br />

and Cathartic Lit Mag and is<br />

forthcoming in the Bitchin’<br />

Kitsch, among others. You<br />

can find her @fuzz_pedals on<br />

Instagram.<br />


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REVIEW<br />

<strong>ISSUE</strong> <strong>III</strong>

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