The question of joy has been on my mind. When my father first decided to come across the border, he was caught and brought back to Mexico. He was running away from his home, chasing the idea that things back home were too boring. Life in America would be more thrilling. Too anxious and arrogant, he wasn’t as careful as he should’ve been. His desire was thwarted and he went back home to his dull vi...

February 13, 2019

I’ve never been good at playing video games. A child of the original Nintendo system, I remember playing each subsequent edition. I remember playing as Mario and whenever I jumped from platform to platform, I didn’t always make it. I wanted to so badly I kept failing and failing.

My younger brother and I played all the time. We fought sometimes over who would get to play. Sometimes our mother would...

December 15, 2018

Reading Lorca’s essay on duende has me thinking about the brink. When the bullfighter faces the bull, he faces death. Lorca writes that duende “won’t appear if he can’t see the possibility of death, if he doesn’t know he can haunt death’s house, if he’s not certain to shake those branches we all carry, that do not bring, can never bring, consolation.” When thinking of death, I think of a blade. I...

October 17, 2018

   There are forty-five miles between where I live now and where I grew up. On a good day of traffic, it takes about fifty minutes to drive from Denton, Texas, to Garland, Texas, where my parents live. I live in Denton because I’m finishing my doctorate in creative writing. During the busy part of the semester, I hardly go home to visit.

     If I walked it would take me half a day. If I took...

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2019 chapbook winner: introducing freda epum

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