Summer 2019

Dear Readers of So to Speak,

It is my honor to welcome you to another fantastic online issue. We are so excited to showcase such a breadth of voices and experiences through fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art. 

We hear from so many perspectives in this issue: survivors of assault, parents struggling to make ends meet to give their children a better life, refugees starting over in a new and unfamiliar place, individuals searching for unconditional love and acceptance, those mourning and dealing with grief, and the intersections of all these topics. While these pieces cover so much ground, I am struck by how they are united in exhibiting the power that words can have. Words are used as a salve to heal wounds. As a weapon to protect against attack. We see that a loss of words feels like a loss of self. All of this is to say that words have an impact on us all—our perspectives, our identities, our souls.

So to Speak has had an incredible year. In the spring, we printed a wonderful contest issue with selections from judges Pam Houston (fiction), Victoria Chang (poetry), Sandy Allen (nonfiction), and Erin Silver (visual art). On our blog, we introduced two limited series: one focusing on the #MeToo movement, and a second one focused on immigrant narratives. In the upcoming year, we will open submissions for our Fall 2019 contest issue (set to be published in the spring), as well as open submissions for our Summer 2020 online issue (submissions to be opened in the spring). We also hope to expand the blog’s reach even further with interviews, reviews, and educational posts on intersecting aspects of feminism.

As our journal grows, we have been more intentional with curating pieces that not only engage us on a craft level, but also exemplify the more inclusive brand of feminism that we strive to uphold. Our contributors have risen to the occasion in joining us to create a more intersectional literary space that represents the greater human experience. It is easier for some more than others to share their stories, and we applaud the courage shown in this issue. We hope to continue amplifying the voices of those often left unheard.

We have also continued to give back to charities in our local community that align with our mission. Through events, we have supported Ayuda—a local charity dedicated to providing vulnerable immigrants with legal, social, and language services—and Trans Closet, a free closet for non-binary, gender non-conforming, and transgender students to find clothing in a welcoming and safe environment. We plan to work with more organizations like these in our area over the next year, and I encourage you to join us in our endeavors to support human rights and make the world a more inclusive place for everyone. Every day we work to be better allies. We hope you enjoy these beautiful selections and continue to follow along with us on this journey.


All the very best,

Kristen Greiner
Editor in Chief

The Body Spent

The apartment is ready for her by the time she arrives. She isn’t sure, exactly, where she is. In a city, somewhere, but it is


A few weeks before Christmas 2017, my grandfather, mi abuelito, born in a migrant farm worker camp in rural Kansas, was called home by the


“You cannot control your parentage, but you can control your legacy.” –Rick Riordan, The House of Hades   The world glows a brilliant white in

Two Dollar Bills Are Good Luck

My father is the type of man to take more than he gives. One of the few things he likes to give me and my

Nothing to Be Scared Of

Wearing my cutest bikini, gray background with white flowers, a little string thing, adorable, really, I lumber through laps as I swim at the Santa


The Biological Sciences Library is the ideal place to work on a quiet Sunday afternoon. With many hours still ahead of her, she languishes at

Swimming Lessons

In her dream, Meena is drowning. It’s always the same dream—her kicking and floundering, fighting the swirling current, gasping for breath as she breaks the

Light and Hot

Joana assumed that there must have been someone before her who had been more tired than she was at this moment—A mother, though, she thought,


Today I mourn myself. Ashes in the moonlight. Once, I met myself with a red suitcase. My destiny; escape or a blade. Today would be

Two Poems by Jody Chan

Mommy there are secrets that cling to             our lips             like plastic wrap, a

Two Poems by Livia Meneghin

Ghazal for Anwari I cast a spell of poppies where she sleeps. While heavy rains pour elsewhere, she sleeps.   Under scented sheets as sweet


I can see how you’d logic the numbers: the ratio of your height and weight to mine equaled              your

Eve, healer

In my memory, she is holding her scrawl, stored on the yellow legal  pads bearing  her patients’ babbled  fears. She clutches mine,  the one  she

Vishu: Our New Year

Vishu¹: Our New Year I hawked for yellow flowers on the streets, felt their crisp, moist petals,  bought a bunch when the market erupted  

[cave nativity]

I was repetition & undercover raised on fear of god’s wild leg                              


(For Kim Wall, 1987-2017)   A flock of Siberian blue robins gathered in the metal gut of the galley. The girl thought now what have

Carry On

Artist’s Statement I am a cis-woman, but I try as much as my understanding allows to speak about feminist issues from the broadest perspective possible.


Artist’s Statement This piece is in reference to a painting by the artist, Artemesia Gentileschi, which depicts the bible story of Judith slaying Holofernes. Part