31.1 Winter/Spring 2019

Table of Contents

Authors in this issue: Alan Ruiz, Jaquira Díaz, Gabrielle Bates, Victor Yang, Tiana Clark, Kenji C. Liu, Nick Greer, Mira Rosenthal, Katherine Evans, Saddiq Dzukogi, Derek Robbins, Martin Rock, Megan Giddings, Helen Betya Rubinstein, Katharine Bowdoin Barthelme, Ryler Dustin, JoAnna Novak, Josh Pazda, Jessie van Eerden, Emily Van Kley, Heather Christle, Kate Wisel, Corinna McClanahan Schroeder, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Hanif Abdurraqib, Thomas Dodson, Sophia Holtz, Selva Almada transl. by Samuel Rutter, Erika Meitner, Sacha Idell, Mi-Kyung Shin, Josh Tvrdy, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Amorak Huey, Patricia Restrepo,


2018 Gulf Coast Prize in Fiction: Rules of…

Mi-Kyung Shin

But a job was a job, I reminded myself. Fulfill your duty. Prove your utility.


2018 Gulf Coast Prize in Poetry: Church Board…

Josh Tvrdy

He threatened to wrap me in Christmas / tinsel and send me off to Grandma.


2018 Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction


Jessie van Eerden

The most private thing he’s willing to admit is that he once took the Love Languages test, though he is not willing to divulge the language he speaks.


Waste Recovery

Emily Van Kley

She drives 2 hours to visit and can’t stop yawning / while I've walked a mile in the rain’s velveteen, / my dress adherent, boots deepening their brown— / working on my portfolio for being professionally glum.


Limited Use

Heather Christle

I want to record / the burning out / of the light bulb / that soon they won’t sell.


All at Sea

Thomas Dodson

Lie and say you have to pee. In his bathroom, check your purse for the condoms and then list, in alphabetical order, every kind of lie you can think of: barefaced lie, big lie, bullshit, fabrication, fib, lying through your teeth.



Sophia Holtz

there’s a certain kind of swagger I can’t pull off in a dress. / people like to make me into a feather— / drop me off the table & I float down. I’m sick of grace. / I’d like to wear multiple costumes at once


Good Husband

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Forgive the hours you waited in paradise alone. / We always knew I was wild, wrecked / with wonder I could not bring into our house / without printing the floor with blood.


Dad Jokes

Amorak Huey

If you’re American in the living room / & European in the bathroom / what are you in the airport holding cell?


Mick's Street

Kate Wisel

I throw the keys at the mirror and they crash, a pitcher of water shattering during a high note. Applause-worthy. Mickey says I fight ghetto and I always say that’s right like I’m proud of who I am.


How Can Black People Write About Flowers at…

Hanif Abdurraqib

Forgive me, for I have been nurturing my well-worn / grudges against beauty. I am hoping my neighbors / will show some mercy on me for backing my car into / the garden & crushing what I will say were the peonies.


Poet Wrestling with Anything She’d Do for Love

Rosebud Ben-Oni

All I want is something incredible & ridiculous / like dinosaur sex, / which must’ve taken no prisoners & no amount of sunset / sweet talk.



Corinna McClanahan Schroeder

I am yellow fingers swabbing / your face at dawn and a ghost / breath blown on your wife’s neck


Fibrous, Faceless Figures: Symbology of Hair…

Patricia Restrepo

Curtiss’ focus on the female form, inaccessible and distorted by locks of hair, produces a distinctive reflection on feminism and reconsideration of hair’s cultural symbology.


An Excerpt from Dead Girls

Selva Almada transl. by Samuel Rutter

In the bed across from me, my sister was sleeping. The blue bolts of lightning illuminated her face, her eyes half-open, the way she always slept, like a rabbit, her chest rising and falling, unaware of the storm and the rain that had borne everything…


Letter in the Time of Junkmail

Erika Meitner

I’ve got the sky in my mouth so when I open it to speak / nothing leaks out except contrails. I order my coffee / & it comes to me in a robin’s egg blue cup with my name / scrawled on it in black marker, almost spelled correctly.


Translations, from the Japanese

Sacha Idell

According to a 2013 census, Japan has a population of 127.3 million people. Approximately 1.9 million of those residents are foreigners. I, a white American, have been inconsistently part of this statistic for the past decade.


Glorious Site of Tremendous Importance:

Josh Pazda

Any tree is certainly capable of capturing one's attention, but they may just as easily go unnoticed with the many distractions of daily life. Feher’s art has always been about calling attention to the otherwise unnoticed things that surround…


Clambering Over Such Rocks

JoAnna Novak

Perhaps we three shall only ever have in common the murder of Adler. And white garments, shoes, stockings, sleeves—even the body of the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is shell-colored, if you ignore her black window.


Notorious Rain

Kenji C. Liu

Why weren’t we told the rain / would trample our darkening fields? / To the disaster, there’s only / wind to testify.


The Ten-Year Plan

Nick Greer

The birds sing in a major key. Our leaders are draped in paper. / Their teeth glisten carelessly. I am full of something that makes / me weightless. We all are.


The Hardest Part of the Human Body

Tiana Clark

I want to love my teeth— / their crooked city skyline / and lemon-stained swagger.


Momma’s Boy

Victor Yang

“They’re here!” My mother’s voice would bellow through the house on Sundays. Everything about her was loud and unapologetic, her slippers slapping the carpet as her long legs raced toward the door. Like other Chinese folks, we never wore shoes…


What is a Screen, What Does It Do?

Alan Ruiz

Certainly today we are inundated with screens that have become smart, offering a digital panoply of information responsive to human touch, rub, and swipe. This would suggest a departure from the history of the screen as one of technological…


How Judas Died

Gabrielle Bates

There’s a bird believed to suck the teats of goats at night. / Flocks alight swollen on the slash pines while we sleep. / Here, in this dark field, among what’s been cast out / from the body of birds, goats, and men, Am I late or early?


Memory Loss

Mira Rosenthal

She tries for us to transfer / the gist of what remains inside the stock- / pile of parts in a basement she never enters



Jaquira Díaz

Years later, Toya would remember the boy’s birth among the coca plants, how he’d arrived in silence, like some sort of harbinger announcing the end of the world.


House of Spies

Katherine Evans

Your parents work for the Central Intelligence Agency. You find this out in the fourth grade while conducting an interview assignment for your English teacher, Mr. Taylor. Before, your parents told you they worked for the government and you…


Notes on Camp: An Interview with Cary Leibowitz

Katharine Bowdoin Barthelme

"Of course, my mindset changes, sometimes not as much as I want it to, but I’m usually not sarcastic about things. Even if it comes across a little sarcastic, there is some sort of seed that I am thinking about."


In the Bones

Ryler Dustin

The finback had beached a long time ago— / storm-scattered ribs, / vertebra polished by sand, / knucklebones caged in black grass.


At the Shiva

Helen Betya Rubinstein

My first non-Jewish boyfriend is my boyfriend in 2006, the year that my grandfather dies. Like me, he has only ever known one of his grandparents. Her name is Mary, and that’s what everyone in his family calls her—I’ve heard him on the phone…


Watch Out, the World’s Behind You

Megan Giddings

And maybe if you had tried to find your kindest self—the one deep within you that all our friends told us probably wouldn’t reemerge until you were twenty-four—and said, yeah, you’re right, let me go change, then none of this would have happened.



Saddiq Dzukogi

Today Baha is not dead; she is six-years-old, / forcing marshmallows into my mouth.


General Memorial Hospital and Clinic – FAQs

Derek Robbins

There are places and then there are states of mind. We recommend the latter. In the proper state of mind, borders are soft as cotton candy—you can lick your way right through them.


Five Poets and a Particle Physicist: Discussing…

Martin Rock

This roundtable, between a group of extraordinary poets who all engage deeply with science in their work, and a single particle physicist, took place over the course of about a month in the summer of 2018 via email.