Intersectionality Issue

Welcome to the Intersectionality Special Themed Edition of Pluvia!

Welcome to the Intersectionality Special Themed Edition of Pluvia!


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INTER<br />

SECT<br />

IONA<br />

LITY<br />


PLUVIA<br />



—<br />

SPRING 2023<br />

Poetry | Prose | Art<br />



BOARD<br />

Founder & Editor-in-Chief: Maggie Yang<br />

Managing Editor: Joyce Huang<br />

Poetry Editor: Emily Li<br />

Prose Editor: Priscilla Raitza<br />

Outreach Coordinator: Alyssa Xu<br />


Aisha Nguyen<br />

Elaine Cui<br />

Eric Lee<br />

Isabella Demianczuk<br />

John Muro<br />

Joyce Huang<br />

Kayla Dar Santos<br />

Lauren Goulette<br />

Lea Ju<br />

Louis Lu<br />

Sarah Lam<br />

Sophie Kuah<br />

Sunnie Qiu<br />

Front Cover Art: Peace by Kayla Dar Santos<br />

Journal Designer: Maggie Yang<br />


TABLE OF<br />


Editor’s Letter 6<br />

Escape by Lea Ju 7<br />

A Place at the Dining Table by Sophie Kuah 8<br />

Paper by Louis Lu 10<br />

Still Life by Eric Lee 11<br />

Flowers In My Jeans by Lauren Goulette 12<br />

Rabbit by Aisha Nguyen 14<br />

Untitled by Sarah Lam 16<br />

Evenfall by John Muro 17<br />

The Two by Isabella Demianczuk 18<br />

Fortune by Kayla Dar Santos 20<br />

Round-Trip by Joyce Huang 22<br />

Immortality by Kayla Dar Santos 26<br />

Untitled by Sunnie Qiu 27<br />

Concentration by Elaine Cui 28<br />

Faith by Isabella Demianczuk 30<br />

Endmatter 31<br />

Social Media 32<br />

Contributors 33<br />

About Us 35<br />


EDITOR’S<br />

LETTER<br />


It is no surprise that our multifaceted identities are shaped<br />

by everyday experiences; the intersectionalities in our<br />

lives between aspects such as race, sexuality, and culture<br />

form our unique perception of the world, and in turn, our<br />

voices in the creative arts. Much like a symphony, strands<br />

of notes woven from every perspective intertwine to construct<br />

the tapestry of a new narrative—one that celebrates<br />

the overlapping images and colors of different keys. But<br />

along with the beauty in these intersectionalities, there<br />

comes discrimination and marginalization, where law<br />

and society’s frameworks only narrow their horizon, letting<br />

those at the meeting of roads fall through the cracks.<br />

For this themed edition, my team and I were impressed<br />

with the work we received; each submission pushed the<br />

confines of the divisions society upholds. They were experimental<br />

and honest, reworking the cracks at certain intersections,<br />

as each painted over and remixed the colors<br />

of a familiar horizon. Each has its own distinct story and<br />

voice—a rhythm determined not by the categories society<br />

defines but of its own accord. ​Without further ado, I present<br />

to you the special edition of Pluvia on intersectionality.<br />


ESCAPE<br />

BY LEA JU<br />


A Place at the<br />

Dining Table<br />


White porcelain bowls with intricate<br />

blue-lined designs are staples here.<br />

This long, seemingly unending wooden table<br />

filled with Women from our past and present.<br />

My father’s side is on the right,<br />

my mother’s on the left.<br />

We share a meal.<br />

Oh no, this is no expensive, high-end banquet.<br />

These are the meals of our homes.<br />

Hong Kong,<br />

China,<br />

Malaysia,<br />

Singapore,<br />

Myanmar and more.<br />

Dishes loaded with soy-glazed melty char siu,<br />

smoky charred char quay teow,<br />

warming bak kut teh,<br />

buttery nasi lemak glide along the table,<br />

gently passed from hand to hand.<br />

Layers of chatter fill my ear,<br />

and though I cannot understand much of it,<br />

a grin forms on my face.<br />

A bowl brimming with courage,<br />

a platter boundless with joy.<br />

Endless love and care melt on my tongue<br />

like egg tarts, creamy and sweet.<br />

The core traits of these extraordinary<br />

Women are passed from one hand to the other,<br />

from the older generations to the future.<br />

Each Woman brings something new to this table—<br />

a unique dish packed with flavours of her soul and story.<br />

Sometimes,<br />

we are passed beautiful things,<br />

the soup that nourishes our souls,<br />


and we accept it with gratitude.<br />

Everyone wants a helping, but unluckily,<br />

our portions cannot be equal.<br />

Paw Paw’s delicate hands spoon out only a bite of the<br />

delectable prize,<br />

so my mother can have more,<br />

so I can have plenty.<br />

Sometimes,<br />

we receive a spoonful of rot,<br />

the obstacles that strive to run us dry till we submit.<br />

Receiving a spoonful of spoilage is simply the luck of the draw.<br />

My eyes roam the table in wonder.<br />

I have a plate abundant with fortune and love,<br />

but bare spots linger on Mah Mah’s plate since<br />

She insists on giving her best shares to us.<br />

Oh, because of Women like these, our hearts are full.<br />

Mah Mah is fed a plate full of spoilage,<br />

Or worse, a life of poverty and starvation may mean<br />

She has nothing to eat at all.<br />

Her nose stings,<br />

and her eyes twitch as She hastily gobbles the plate of rotten goods.<br />

Yet still,<br />

She shines her pearly teeth,<br />

so we do the same,<br />

although her stomach furiously grumbles, crying for more.<br />

Her defiance shields her youngest,<br />

so we will never experience the same sour.<br />

Every Woman belongs to this table,<br />

for She brightens the lives of those who sit around her.<br />

A meal around the dining table is a moment where<br />

time does not separate us,<br />

and stories and food bond us.<br />

A warmth fills my heart like a rich hot pot stew.<br />

Two rows travel along and along this dining table,<br />

and despite a hundred language barriers,<br />

Every smile across the table lets me know<br />

I belong in this chair.<br />

Oh, to become as<br />

Bold,<br />

Loving,<br />

Selfless,<br />

Powerful<br />

and Proud<br />

As the Women I am blessed to sit among.<br />


PAPER<br />






Flowers In<br />

My Jeans<br />


Beyond the sacred willow branches<br />

Woven intricately across my mother’s<br />

swollen chest<br />

Liquid gold, honey dripping from sweetgrass<br />

Wisconsin-grown, chipping white barn doors<br />

over lands of blue bays<br />

Culminating indigo violets and yellow dandelions,<br />

barely past four<br />

Bring them to my mother,<br />

through swinging porch doors<br />

Holes for mosquitoes to escape<br />

on the buggy nights<br />

Dusted farmhouse sink,<br />

running past green valleys to neon skies<br />

Tuck my hair behind my little ear,<br />

twinkling fairies behind my brown eyes<br />

Take our talc canoe across the river,<br />

grasp the sides with firm fingers<br />

My mother, crinkles in the corner of her eyes<br />

Whispering stories of swaying carp and<br />

lingering catfish<br />

Eventually in noon we will reach field,<br />

Soft brush under my broken sandals<br />

A paint brush splash soaks through<br />

my denim blue jeans,<br />

In my hand I select<br />

purples, blues, oranges<br />

My mother bends and whispers to me,<br />

lavender, woodland violet, tiger lily<br />


Somewhere in those fields<br />

on that sonder Sunday afternoon,<br />

As I rested my head on powdered underbrush<br />

Perhaps I did not realize this would be the last time<br />

To cherish that simple moment,<br />

in that town of stars<br />

Ripping sweetwater to see past the eye,<br />

with bruised knuckles and scraped knees<br />

Wisconsin-grown little girl, oil slick hair<br />

red boots and boat fringed knots.<br />


14<br />

RABBIT<br />






Evenfall<br />


Certain that more than youth<br />

is gone and will never return,<br />

I’m waving memory back as<br />

clouds hastily spend down<br />

day’s last light with no means<br />

to still the air or prolong<br />

the flood of color over color<br />

or the moment between<br />

light and dark when day’s<br />

nearly extinguished and<br />

stars still keep to their cold<br />

corridors like fragments<br />

of ore in marl, and we quietly<br />

gather near firelight behind<br />

the broken latches of frosted<br />

windows, as the world turns<br />

dumbly on its axis knowing<br />

there is so little of the future<br />

left for us, listening to the<br />

dull drone of a skulking wind<br />

jostling branches, kicking<br />

leaves and dreaming our<br />

younger selves awake.<br />


18<br />




20<br />




Round-Trip<br />


“This is the final [static] call for passenger [static] -ching<br />

Zang on flight AC407 to [static]. Please proceed to Gate [static]<br />

-ediately. Than- [static].”<br />

You stand here at the entrance to the airport. Emotions,<br />

colours, voices – everything is slower, duller, blurred.<br />

You watch your sister’s tears stream down her face,<br />

and yet your mask seems to press down not just physically, but<br />

also emotionally, a dampener on your perception of the world.<br />

Any uncontrollable swell of incomprehensible feelings in the<br />

back of your eyes is beaten down by the suffocating material.<br />

“Good after- [static] -for flight [static] will be delayed<br />

for [static]. Thank [static] your patience.”<br />

Your mother teases you for being stone-hearted, pillows<br />

cushioning the gap between you, yet just a few years ago – on the<br />

sofa in your Vancouver home, sinking into cushions that could<br />

not pillow her words – she was scolding you for your “glass heart.”<br />

What changed?<br />

“Hello, passengers of flight [static]. Boarding begins in<br />

twenty minutes at Gate [static]. Please have your identifi-[static]<br />

pass ready. Thank you.”<br />

The airport: synonymous with anticipation. At times<br />

dreadful – it clutches your empty stomach and twists with malicious<br />

intent. Sometimes hopeful – it brightens and softens the<br />

world at once. Anxiety. Delight. Sorrow. Uncertainty. All emotions<br />

burst forth the moment you step over the invisible threshold<br />

between autodoors and congregate in a stubborn cloud over you.<br />


Night spills from storm clouds like ink. The absence<br />

of cold metal bites into your thighs as much as its presence.<br />

You sit alone. The chair beneath you is riddled with<br />

holes; you are riddled with homesickness. The distant melody<br />

of reunion-kindled laughter sparks an ugly flame in you.<br />

Your sister’s tears can douse any fires, you think. Her<br />

face scrunches up like a crumpled rose, watery blots staining<br />

cheap origami paper. You carefully keep your back to<br />

her, your gaze on the phantom-like car drifting away into<br />

the night. Streetlights cast a sore warmth on its path and between<br />

your eyes. The world descends into blurs of color.<br />

You must have slipped sunshine into the color<br />

palette today. Golden (de)light tints your eye and embroiders<br />

the marble-clad hallway of the airport. Several<br />

sets of reassuring footsteps trail your path, the sound<br />

melodious to your ears as honey is to your tear-stained tongue.<br />

The taste of nostalgia is bittersweet. You feel like a stranger<br />

each time you sit in this spot; yet habit takes over every flight,<br />

and you find yourself staring out the window again. Patchwork<br />

of harvest-bound fields, arctic cracked-ice clouds, a mist-eyed<br />

sunset. The double-paned glass traps just a little of that childish<br />

wonder left behind the first time you embarked on this journey.<br />

A taxi is coming soon. You pretend to scroll<br />

through your phone sans-wifi, watching the arrow run<br />

in aimless circles and wonder if you aren’t the same.<br />

“This is the pre-boarding announcement for [static].<br />

Boarding begins in ten minutes. Please [static] -ank you.”<br />

Look. The airport is home to so many travelers. Their<br />

life – your life – is but a flimsy strand so easily disappearing into<br />

the grand tapestry of the human experience. You watch your<br />

sister cry on your mother’s shoulder and see the people hurrying<br />

about around you, caught in the tide of momentum and the<br />


promise of a destination, not even bothering to give a wide<br />

berth, not even caring to give you enough space to properly<br />

grieve for a childhood lost – a mother who will never be<br />

able to make up for the loss of her presence in your growing<br />

up, and you who will never be able to return to that<br />

childhood you so desperately want to defy time for, if only<br />

to give her the chance to reintegrate herself into your life.<br />

“Boarding begins now for flight AC120 to<br />

[static]. Please proceed to Gate B13. Thank you.”<br />

Look at them. You see the same thing over and<br />

over again in the airport. The numbing indifference of<br />

urban life, the cracked-up emotions wrung into forehead<br />

wrinkles and helpless hands, the harsh weight of money<br />

and responsibility whipping red lines against palms, (look<br />

at you – ) your frozen smile and your mother’s burning<br />

tears – the forever on-voyage and forever returning-home<br />

and forever new-beginnings that are never called by<br />

their other names: never-home and never-coming-back.<br />

You step over the narrow slit between plane and<br />

ground, determined to escape from voyage to destination,<br />

yet wind slips in – an icy chain around your ankles.<br />

Through the oval frame, you track a tiny yellow car, trailing<br />

the baked leaves of autumn behind tire prints painted<br />

in snow. You turn and summer heat pulses through the<br />

ground as you clamber into the taxi; you haul your luggages<br />

out to meet spring-softened soil and spring-sweetened air.<br />

Sunsets melt into sunrise; the songs of your mother<br />

tongue find traces in the dialects unfamiliar to your ears.<br />

One home is the same as another, each beginning an end.<br />

Your voyages unroot you. Your voyages free you.<br />

Your voyages have long since entangled themselves in you, so<br />

that they cannot extract themselves without undoing you too.<br />


Your voyages are the thread, tenuously stringing one<br />

side of yourself to another, straining to pull your identities<br />

together. Or pull them away, keep them at a careful balance,<br />

an arm’s length between the two so neither invades the other’s<br />

presence.<br />

You must remember that you are both. Departures<br />

and arrivals, beginnings and endings, your parents’ efforts to<br />

mend, and yours, to blend.<br />

You understand, don’t you? Because destinations –<br />

definitions – are never singular. You find and abandon one<br />

home after another, you discover and forget every sunset you<br />

ever encounter, you are a passerby to every person you love<br />

and will ever love. If your plane reaches a stop, then you<br />

must have another start waiting.<br />

And so you set off again –<br />

“Good evening, passengers. Welcome on board to<br />

Air Canada, flight AC021 to Shanghai, China.”<br />

– onto your next round-trip voyage.<br />

“Good morning, passengers. Welcome on board to Air China,<br />

flight CA120 to Vancouver, Canada.”<br />


26<br />






28<br />




FAITH<br />






Follow us on<br />

Instagram & Twitter<br />

@pluviajournal<br />






ERIC LEE<br />


Isabella Demianczuk was first introduced to art through school in<br />

grade eight and immediately fell in love with the subject. The last<br />

three years have been fundamental to her development as an artist,<br />

and she credits her art teachers for nourishing and encouraging her<br />

passion. Isabella’s favorite medium is acrylic paints, as she finds them<br />

easy to manipulate and quick to dry. Isabella favors these characteristics<br />

as they allow her to make sudden changes, and add a painterly<br />

effect to her pieces. In the future, Isabella will be pursuing art through<br />

an AP art course, and perhaps even a career in the industry.<br />


A two-time nominee for the 2021 Pushcart Prize and, more recently, the<br />

Best of the Net Award, John is a resident of Connecticut and a lover<br />

of all things chocolate. He has published two volumes of poems: In the<br />

Lilac Hour and Pastoral Suite, in 2020 and 2022, respectively. Both books<br />

were published by Antrim House and both are available on Amazon.<br />

John’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous literary<br />

journals and anthologies, including Acumen, Barnstorm, Grey Sparrow,<br />

Moria, River Heron, Sky Island, and Valparaiso. Instagram: @johntmuro.<br />


Joyce Huang has been fascinated by stories ever since she was little,<br />

and she grew up spending much of her free time reading and<br />

writing. She likes fiction in general, but her all-time favorite genre<br />

is fantasy. She loves creative writing—from creating short stories<br />

and poems to simply describing things, she finds them all immensely<br />

enjoyable. She hopes to continue exploring the beauty<br />

of languages and storytelling throughout her high school career.<br />




Kayla, who is currently 17, has been passionate about art<br />

throughout her life. However, she began to find joy in graphite<br />

sketches at the beginning of 2020. For Kayla’s art pieces, she<br />

explored traditional graphite sketches while incorporating art collages<br />

into each drawing. Her concept was inspired by the beauty<br />

of Chinese culture and the significance of everyday objects.<br />


Lauren Goulette is a seventeen-year-old high school senior from the<br />

wider Minneapolis area. Her pieces often reflect ancestry and experiences<br />

growing up in rural Wisconsin. She is passionate about<br />

writing poetry, painting, and doing all kinds of creative things. By<br />

using her voice, she intends on spreading information through poetry<br />

and creative writing. Lauren serves as a member of her high<br />

school’s Student Council, an ambassador for Her Coalition’s student-led<br />

organization, a founder of her school’s Women In Literature<br />

Club, and an alumni winner of the class of 2020, 2021, and<br />

2022 Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. In her free time, Lauren<br />

enjoys doing yoga, hanging out with her friends, and reading books.<br />

LEA JU<br />

LOUIS LU<br />



Sophie Kuah was first introduced to writing personal narratives in<br />

grade 8, finding she could not stop writing about her experiences<br />

growing up Chinese-Canadian. Since then, she has fallen in love<br />

with writing and continues to explore her identity through the art.<br />



ABOUT US<br />

At Pluvia, we seek to uplift both emerging and<br />

established voices, with an emphasis on BI-<br />

POC and underrepresented writers and artists.<br />

Inspired by rain’s beauty and by how often it’s<br />

overlooked, our mission is to showcase the future<br />

of the creative arts as a path for societal change<br />

and expression of the inner self. We’re looking<br />

for work that’s raw, authentic, and unforgettable;<br />

work that excavates and uncovers the beauty in<br />

the small; work lost in the waves of existence or<br />

basking under the emerging sun in a rainstorm.<br />

Pluvia is an international non-profit literary<br />

arts journal that publishes online 3-4<br />

times a year. We accept creative art forms,<br />

whether it be poetry, prose, or visual arts.<br />

Visit our submissions page for more info.<br />

Back Cover Art: Ritual by Kayla Dar Santos<br />




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