by Theo LeGro

Dead People

Once I started talking to myself like I was someone 

else it was the only way that made any sense to think 

about anything: you notice the acorns now. 

You comb your hair. You miss your mom. You 

are not a good daughter. You were about to say this 

mechanism makes it easier to forgive yourself. 

I know I never was a child but still I have to ask, 

is everyone grown up now but me? I am getting older 

now and I still want people to want to fuck me but mostly 

I am concerned that I might not be getting any smarter 

nor any kinder, that I might not have really learned anything

after all, that I will die asking myself the difference between 

precious things I am afraid to touch, that death is our only lasting 

invention, that there is nothing more commonplace. 


Most likely several twenty-two year old women with baby 

daughters died last week but only one of them was your baby 

cousin. You are wondering if America did not break your mother, 

too, if blame is the reed your mother breathed through jungle nights 

until the bayonets passed, if the reed is what swung your mother’s hand. 

Your mother isn’t dead but you miss her anyway. You believe 

in dead things, old trees, some stones, your ghosts, that every death 

is commonplace except the death of someone you love.

Theo LeGro is a Vietnamese-American poet in Brooklyn. Their work has appeared in Rust + Moth, Juked, and elsewhere.

by Doug Ramspeck

Thank You, the Sex Shop Is Closed

Already, the sky today 

is made of someone else’s history     and falling behind.

And the traffic is terrible.

I have a dream of simply being

somewhere else. 

This might hurt a little,

life says. 

Did you hear the one about the prayer that fell in love

with a church ceiling?

I just want

to be home. Snow is kinder out my kitchen window.

It leans so close I can believe that it is whispering.

It brushes the glass    and says

baby, baby.

Doug Ramspeck is the author of six poetry collections and one collection of short stories. His most recent book, Black Flowers (2018), is published by LSU Press. Individual poems have appeared in journals that include The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, Slate, and The Georgia Review.

by Wesley O. Cohen

How August Could Have Gone

There are so many bees in the wall that the outlets are leaking honey. Ants come looking for sweetness, marking black streaks like sesame seeds up the molding. When I stand near, I can hear the buzzing, a deep vibration like the hum of a car radio out on the street. I can feel the wall’s warmth in the room. We stay in the warm house forever. If it were up to me, that’s where we’d be now: together, in the golden light, sunflowers on our dining room table, the calendar never changing, the clock stopped. 

There were bees in the house when we moved in, so I guess we’re the infestation. We give the hive a wide berth, but Caroline puts a bowl on the ground under the outlet to catch the honey. I warn her that it’ll be too full of ants to eat, dirty from the wall, probably holding flakes of chipping paint. But we watch the bowl fill over the course of a day, and when the orange light comes through the window at dusk and rests just exactly along that stretch of floor, the glass bowl glows through with golden honey like a gemstone, and there is not a single ant in there. Caroline picks it up, puts down a new bowl, and brings the honey into the kitchen. We stir it into our tea, drizzle it over toasted brown bread for dessert, and go out onto the porch. We watch the sun set over fields of sunflowers. The earth is gold, and everything glows. Everything glows and stays. 

Wesley O. Cohen is a writer and editor from Northern California. Her stories appear in Joyland, Entropy, the Jellyfish Review, and some other places. She was a 2017 Writing By Writers Newberry fellow. She currently serves as prose editor of Foglifter Journal, and runs the Queer Syllabus in coordination with The Rumpus. Wesley's work lives at

Translated from Spanish by Toshiya Kamei by Socorro Venegas

The Sweet Smell of a Cornered Creature

He couldn't kill it. He circled around a pig hanging upside down that just kept squealing. I imagined tears trickling from its beady eyes. My mother had warned me to stay away from the window, saying that it was a man's business out there. She sprinkled herself with perfumes, called my brother, and they went out into the street. I stood by the window, my nose pressed against the glass. She was like that, giving orders and never making sure they were fulfilled. My father came and went through the patio with a rod in his hand, without making up his mind.

It had been Mama's idea. She prodded him where it would hurt most.

"Your father was from Matanzas and taught you everything you need about slaughter. You kill it," she said. "Don't tell me you're scared."

We would save lots of pesos if slaughter was done at home, if everything was cooked there: a big party to celebrate Mama's birthday. He didn't want to be afraid, so he got what was needed. But he couldn't. He had been pacing for a while, lighting up and putting out cigarettes. He just couldn't.

I smoothed my dress and went out to the patio, as if it were nothing, just trying to see what was going on out there. He greeted me with a smile of relief. The pig was shaking, heavy, hideous with its shrieking snout. As I went closer, I saw its yellowish teeth and the teats hanging down: it was a sow!

"Why don't we tell Mama we don't kill her because she has piglets?" I suggested.

"What piglets? The man who sold it to us had already sold the piglets."

The sow started to drip milk. It stopped shrieking for a few moments as if that relieved it.

"So?" I grabbed the rod he had left on the ground.

I saw the huge dark pot where the sow was supposed to be cooked. Everything was ready. We had to kill it.

"Why don't you tell her you don't remember how to do it? At school, this is what I tell my teacher: I don't remember..."

He ran his hand through his hair. He had accompanied his father a thousand times in situations like this. His voice trembled:

"I would close my eyes. I hated the sound of a pig dying."

We remained silent. The sun plummeted and the sow shrieked again.

"It's just that if you don't kill it, well, her, Mama..."

"I know, Andrea. I know." He turned his back to me.

In an unexpected turn he snatched the rod from me and plunged it once into the sow's chest. It must have struck right at her heart, because the animal bellowed with all her might. My father fell to the ground and blood began splashing everywhere. He had turned pale and looked in horror at the gush of blood shooting out of the wound. I leaned over him to cover his ears with my hands so he would not hear the sow that kept shrieking until the end of the day.

Socorro Venegas is a Mexican writer and editor. Her books include the novels La noche será negra y blanca (2009) and Vestido de novia (2014), as well as the short story collections La risa de las azucenas (1997), La muerte más blanca (2000), and Todas las islas (2002). Her stories have been translated into English and French and published in several anthologies. She writes the column “Modo Avión” in the online literary magazine Literal. She has managed editorial projects for the Fondo de Cultura Económica and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.


Toshiya Kamei's translations of Latin American literature include books by Claudia Apablaza, Liliana Blum, Carlos Bortoni, Selfa Chew, and Leticia Luna. For more information, visit