Summer 2020

Dear Readers of So to Speak,

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce to you our Summer 2020 online issue. Our team was blown away by the work featured in this collection, and we are thrilled to present readers with a stunning showcase of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art from a breadth of intersectional perspectives and voices.

In this issue, our authors and artists interrogate a robust variety of themes, among them tragedy, uncertainty, and loss, but also joy, healing, and resilience. We read of retellings and reclamations; of power imbalances and microaggressions; of memory, transformation, and grief; of bodies, vulnerability, and power. The work in this issue examines identity, race, class, gender, disability, sexuality, and the intersection of all of the above; it interrogates how oppressive systems contribute to and imbue the experiences and traumas of the oppressed. It is a fantastic set of pieces, and we are so grateful for our contributors, and for their work, their words, and their art. 

This year, So to Speak has worked to continue furthering and strengthening our mission of being a home for intersectional feminist writing, one that has long sought to challenge the hegemony of an industry that has historically centered white, heteronormative, cisgendered, able-bodied perspectives. At the same time, we recognize that we can always do more to amplify the voices that publishing has excluded (and unfortunately, often continues to exclude). Working against oppressive systems is an ongoing process, one we must all commit to every day. This year, we have taken on some new initiatives to progress our antiracism efforts, including: offering free e-books of our 2020 contest issue to those who send us a proof of donation to a Black-led organization, a purchase from a Black-owned business, or an email to representatives demanding change; publishing a limited series on our blog about language, equity, and intersectionality; and making our 2021 contest issue submissions fee-free for Black writers this fall. As a literary magazine, we believe it is our duty to use our platform to not just say that Black lives matter, but also to take actions to make sure that Black lives and Black voices are being valued, uplifted, and heard.

Producing a literary magazine is no small feat, and I would like to thank our staff for their thoughtful, passionate, tireless efforts that make possible the work we do at So to Speak. The individuals on our team never fail to impress me with their dedication, care, and creativity, and I am so grateful to work alongside them. I also would like to recognize our contributors of past and present, who light up our pages with their incredible work; to them, I say: we are in your corner, and we can’t wait to see and support your future creative endeavors. I’d also like to acknowledge those who have submitted work to us, who make it possible for us to do what we do—thank you for trusting us with your pieces. And finally, to the indie lit community, thank you for reading and supporting small journals like ours. We are so fortunate to be able to interact with you all, to exist and act and move forward alongside you.

In our last issue, we implored our readers to be kind, and to raise hell—to fight against injustice and inequity, to learn and grow, to act with intentionality and think with intersectionality. Now, we implore you to keep up the momentum of your activism. Every day is a chance to do what we can to challenge systemic oppression, to amplify voices that have historically been marginalized, to recognize our place in harmful structures, and to fight these structures’ existences. In just the first half of 2020, we have faced a global pandemic, a civil rights movement caused by a human rights crisis, and unrest across the world; we must continue to use our voices to foster long-needed, meaningful change. At So to Speak, we pledge to do everything we can to push for equality, equity, and progress. We hope you will, too. 

Warmly,

Kyra Kondis
Editor-in-Chief

Hystory, An Art Object

I followed the doctor down the yellow hall. He was explaining something but I wasn’t listening. I was thinking about the doorways we kept passing

Nuclear

My sister’s arrest was the biggest scandal to hit our town since the high school principal, Dr. Krauss, was given a DUI during my senior

Writing and the Body

I often wrestle with how I form a sentence. I love certain sounds, certain units of syntax, and I tend to use them perhaps too

Near the Lake

In the desk drawer. Of immigrant parents. Papers. Never lose documents. Loose documents. Could be sent home. That’s your home. The place you left. So

Crescendo

Consent, however, there was never such a thing. As if when a boy teased you, it only meant he liked you, And if you teased

Relentlessly Big

Paris corners June in their shared bathroom with a tale of her latest romantic disappointment. Really bad sex with a really good man. He was

Gentrification Plan

I The accent. This is self-explanatory. Study the news, slow down, stretch your mouth. Avoid saying steel mill, TV, and smile. They will give you

The Fox Spirit’s Retelling

The legend is only partially true. I did bathe in the river and the farmer did see me there in human-skin. I had hidden my

OUR SEX STRUNG LIKE PAPER LANTERNS

1—Is this the sin our grandmothers spoke of? Organs splayed like butterflies shot down mid-flight.    2—Bedtime stories were set upon beanstalks, their weight pushing

Little Bird

Belinda came steaming from the kitchen into the living room searching for the weed she used last night to fall asleep and needed again this

What We Have in Common

Artist’s Statement What We Have In Common questions ideologies of who ought to be what by exploring concepts of unity in diversity, liberty within restraints,

Holy Ghost

Some nights I’m young again;         a child choking on the body of Christ.        I read               this is common, that

good luck charm (reversed)

i was born on friday the thirteenth and baptized on halloween four years later. spooky girl, she-who-wears-black-and-not-much- else. when i was small, i whispered little