By E.M. Tran

My father moans in his sleep, says things in his mother tongue, goldfish mouth agape as he speaks to the absence where his friends used to be, and I, an American child, sit at the door in the dark listening for some hint of who he was.


E. M. Tran lives, writes, and teaches in New Orleans, LA, and has work in such places as Prairie Schooner, Little Fiction, and Joyland Magazine.


Art by Jeff Kallet.

By Victoria Buitron

It’s not a baggie, it’s a plump bag of marijuana, plopped on the street two houses over from the new place we've lived in just some months, and it seems like what’s inside might cost at least a thousand bucks but I don’t say this to my mom who is walking next to me, who I had to teach how to use a tampon, because I can picture it already—we are the brownest people on the street—and I imagine a cop arriving who doesn’t wear a mask because it won’t let him breathe, and he’ll refuse to social distance, then I’ll have to explain that no sir, this is not my pot, sir, I just found it here, sir, because who will believe us, on this street where everyone probably says cul de sac instead of dead end, these neighbors who may or may not know that Black people are arrested four times more than white people for marijuana possession, and they already think we play music too loudly in a language they can’t understand, and maybe we'll end up hating each other instead of relishing in the mutual apathy we feel now, so I tell my mom this is none of our business and some pizza-delivery man’s oregano must have fallen from his car and she believes me or at least I think she does, until the following day when my husband confesses he saw the bag while walking our dog, and then a man came in a Mustang, refused to look him in the eyes, grabbed his merchandise off the pavement, left with a tire screech like out of a thriller suburban movie, and I say: of course I saw it, sometimes you just have to keep your mouth shut 'cause—and my mom interrupts me and says I knew it, this woman who’s only smoked one cigarette in her life, who thinks no one on our street could be a drug dealer and who says omaiga instead of oh my god—but none of us say we should have called the cops, since it's not like it was cocaine or human trafficking or someone screaming for help because what good has ever come from calling the cops for cannabis anyway.



Victoria Buitron used to write and travel, but now all she does is write.


Art by Danny Sancho.

By Stacie Worrel

When adults argue over who was telling the truth, if she was old enough to give consent, if he knew how old she was, if she should have known better, if his life will be ruined, I think about a diary entry I wrote when I was fifteen years old — “04/06/2011: …I feel like there’s something else [I meant to write about], but I dunno xD sorry :P OHMYGOD. I just remembered. I don’t want to write about it anymore hahaha but basically I was really lonely and called this YouTuber named Mike who has a voicemail for fans to call and I left a message, then the next morning he sent me a super sweet text about how I wasn’t alone and he would’ve called back but he was working” — and then I think about how Mike was later arrested for soliciting child pornography from other young female fans, how those girls’ stories started the same way my diary entry did, how star-struck I was when Mike texted me, how his use of a heart emoji made my heart shiver, how I didn’t know anything about sex or twenty-something boys or being taken advantage of, how I hadn’t yet begun the process of learning to value my body or my privacy, how lucky I was that he hadn’t answered my phone call, how if he had answered the call and things had gone wrong it wouldn’t have been my fault because I was a lonely unknown fifteen-year-old and he was a grown man-slash-minor celebrity, and how I still would have blamed myself because that’s what girls do in a society that doesn’t listen to them, and that’s the truth.



Stacie Worrel is a creative writing (nonfiction) PhD student at Ohio University.


Art by Chrissa Somerset.

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