Summer 2023

Dear So to Speak readers, 

I’m proud to present to y’all our Summer 2023 Online Issue! From stories about exploring trans identity through dance to poems about finding your sexuality through fanfiction, this issue is full of pieces that represent the So to Speak mission of showcasing writing and art with intersectional perspectives in mind. 

2022 into 2023 has been an exciting year for STS: in order to continue our mission of providing an equitable and accessible space for writers, we retired our annual contest and now award paid honorariums to each of our contributors. We have been considering this change for a while, and found that we’d rather have all of our contributors paid fairly instead of paying a select few through a contest issue. With this new publication model, we published a gorgeous print issue, featuring cover art from our contributor, Joanne McFarland, and designed by Arianne Payne.

In March, we traveled all the way across the country to Seattle for AWP 2023, alongside our sister journal Phoebe. With Phoebe, we also co-hosted a Submit-In, where emerging writers could learn tips and tricks for submitting their work to journals. Additionally, we’re looking forward to hosting a virtual reading with Phoebe this upcoming Thursday, June 8th! Also new this year, we collaborated with Barrelhouse at their Conversations and Connections Conference 2023 in D.C., acting as “speed dating” editors for folks working on their fiction and poetry. 

Outside of these new activities and events, we’ve grown as a remarkable team of writers and editors: thank you to our amazing team, who worked with passion and consideration to craft this amazing online issue. We receive so many great submissions for every issue, and our editors work hard to read and select each piece. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to work with such a brilliant team of editors; all of whom are writers and creators with diverse perspectives, just like our contributors. 

Thank you, lastly, to our contributors and readers. Thank you for continuously supporting So to Speak, whether it’s through submitting your work, saying hi to us at AWP, attending our on-campus and/or virtual events, or just by reading our journal. 

Once again, I’m proud to present to you this online issue, especially during Pride Month. The fight for inclusion and acceptance is an ongoing one. It can be easy to get discouraged and not see the importance of writing or creating at all, especially after seeing the recent anti-trans laws developing in Florida, the ongoing labor dispute between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or even the removal of Target’s independently-designed Pride Collection due to threats of domestic terrorism. Still, I’m always impressed at the outpouring of support online and in-person for continued, inclusive creativity, either through the active striking and marching in the streets for equal writing pay (not to mention the refusal to be replaced by AI), or by reading a small journal online, run by graduate writing students. Thank you for reading, and continuing to write and create. We’re grateful for you, and fighting alongside you. 


Eli V, Editor-In-Chief 


I am sorry about the mud-prints on the floor. I wanted to harvest the last of the onions. Whether onions wait for people or people

You’re Going to Be Okay

CW: suicide, self harm, disordered eating    I don’t want to die, but I want to get close. I want to bury my face in

Writing with My Hands CW: ableism Whether they are holding a pen or tapping keys, these hands are often erased in articulations of the relationships between the writer

The Morphology Of Grief

 “Grief is nothing but love unbound and homeless. What does love do when it has no place to go? When it has been so abruptly

bone fire

I am too fire      —      I know my arms      and legs                wrists


CW: violence, harassment Internet history of Luz Moreno: April 30, 2019  10:01 pm: 10:18 pm: 10:25 pm: What is the theme of Macbeth?


On the verge of it being too much, I take my scissors, point them at you. Make them snip. But you just hold up two

Year of the Black Tiger

On an elvan stone, eggs become nutty and brown. Daltokki 달토끼 is the moon rabbit who threw themselves into a fire. This year is for

You Don’t Have to Look Up Every Time

  CW: racism   “Why Spain?” the embassy employee asks from behind the bullet proof, or something-proof, glass. I glare at my reflection, made cloudy

Mother’s Grace and Our Lady

Mother’s Grace Our Lady   Amuri Morris is a visual artist based in Richmond, Va. She recently graduated from painting/ printmaking and business at Virginia


ARRIVAL In my contemporary dance class, a student mentions that she is interested in lines: following the length of a line with her body, breaking


CW: incest, sexual abuse Back then when we both liked Chinese food but never talked about our birth mothers, I couldn’t be honest. We met