2019 Amuse-Bouche Archive

Spotlight: Golden Years

Because nursing homes were for gringos, my grandfather spent his last years on the couch, idle, silent, drooling as he watched novelas, old episodes of Cops, and—as hour after hour passed— never once blinking, even when I snuck up, flashed my silliest faces in front of his eyes. Like a monk, or the Queen’s Guard, […]

À La Carte: Waning Gibbous

Google: How early do girls masturbate?
in her eighth year / maybe earlier / low tides birthed: a lotus / splitting legs / to conch shell murmurs / she
swirls / her lotus / chews mattress / her lotus / bends pillow / her lotus / rubs its cheek / against raggedy
Anne / repetition sharpens / her lotus / petal / into blade / petal tears / knitted crotch / crotch spills / cotton
/ spills / from mute dolly / yet / no cotton / will enter girl / enter lotus / tampons are phallic / kabardaar

Spotlight: 85%

[fiction] On any given day, I spend about 85% of my energy trying to not look crazy. Which is why it’s really pissing me the fuck off that Emma is spending about 0% of her energy not listening to the really simple thing I asked her to do: stay on her half of the desk. […]

Kerrie Smith, Vapours 5, 2018, Acrylic/Aluminum panel, 16x12"

Spotlight: Patterns in Nature

Ilaria Ortensi, Untitled.Windows, 2014, Inkjet Color Print, 44x72

Spotlight: Windows

À La Carte: dialogue and invitations & Cultivation

dialogue and invitations If y’all have babies I hope they have his hair. You have a lot of potential. You’re so well spoken. silence ignored I have a job this summer cleaning my house, if you’re interested. money tossed on the counter. no eye contact You’re going to be fly … what does that mean? […]

Spotlight: Pull Me Out of the Earth and Feed Me to My Madness (after The X-Files)

Look at our bones laid bare      on the metal      or in the grass. Slides spill like memories across the wall        and while he sees his favorite legend again     Scully has to hold her science in her chest. What even is real in 1999?     In 2018 when I turn off cable news call my grandmother     stuff […]

Autumn Hunt, Suddenly in Paradise, 2015, Oil on Panel, 7.25" x 9.75"

Spotlight: Oh the Places We Will Go

Litdish: Elham Hajesmaeili, Artist

Born in Iran in 1984, Elham Hajesmaeili received a BFA in handicrafts from the Shiraz University in 2006, an MA in art studies from the University of Art, Tehran, Iran in 2010, and an MFA in painting and drawing from the Pennsylvania State University, US in 2017. She has held multiple groups and solo exhibitions […]

À La Carte: Picnic at the Champ de Mars

[flash] We had arrived in France two days before, and it was already our third croque monsieur. We bought it at a little Carrefour store, where we also got two cans of Dr. Pepper. Look, Joanne had said, didn’t Melissa say Dr. Pepper was impossible to find in Europe. So we just had to get […]

Spotlight: Routines in Cell 43

[translated fiction] (Readable as a loop, beginning with any paragraph) The rod rings out in the emptiness to remind me of my exile. I inhale the damp air and the invasive scent of my own misery. It was a long time ago that I took my leave of the apathy inherent to incomprehension and fear. […]

Izosceles, Retro Discothekka, 2017, Digital Media, 40" x 30"

Spotlight: Pro-Anti

Writers Read: Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

When I was thinking back on how to write up this piece on Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, I kept struggling with the words to put down. How can I best write about a fictitious society that criminalized reproductive rights while we in the US are quite literally on the brink of a collapse of […]

À La Carte: There is no version of this story in which I come out the other side neurotypical

Last night I dreamt of institutions. A thousand days of mood stabilizers and shock therapy. A spoon rolls over my tongue but I do not gag on the bitterness, my throat is already full of what everyone else needs to be comfortable with me being alive. // My grandmother lives in Cuba. Mother rarely speaks […]

Spotlight: Vocal Frying the 2nd POV

[fiction] You is not you. It certainly isn’t me, although after the initial shock of being ‘you,’ you think ‘you’ is me. Anyhoo, you take me by the hand and we climb the stairs, taking each step as slowly as if each step was a crossing into another forbidden dimension. BTW, ‘me’ isn’t me but […]

À La Carte: Two Apples a Day, Keeps the Pounds Away

[creative nonfiction] When I was seventeen, my daily food consumption consisted of two apples per day, nothing more and nothing less. Every single calorie that I ate was tracked, measured, and promptly exterminated like a nasty virus through rigorous exercise. Every aspect of my life revolved around numbers: calories in, calories out, how many minutes […]

Spotlight: Weight & Call Me Animal

Weight First thing you learn is to swallow a fist/ that sets its aim/ on the white manager who calls you/ so articulate/ as if the notion is as rare as a nun in full habit/ or unicorns/ I learned to play house/ with dolls I’d rather bury/ and frilly girls I’d prefer to avoid/ […]

Litdish: Valeria Luiselli, Author

Valeria Luiselli earned her PhD in comparative literature from Columbia University and has received awards from the Los Angeles Times, the Azul Prize, and the National Book Foundation. Her books include Sidewalks, Faces in the Crowd, The Story of My Teeth, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions, and now, Lost Children […]

Yael Sapir, lace on a leaf, 2018, found leaf and cotton threads

Spotlight: The Ornamented Leaf

Litdish: Nancy Au, Author

Nancy Au‘s writing appears or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, The Cincinnati Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Catapult, Lunch Ticket, and SmokeLong Quarterly, among others. She has an MFA from San Francisco State University where she taught creative writing. In the summers, she teaches creative writing (to biology majors!) at California State University Stanislaus. She is co-founder […]

Spotlight: Symphony of Panic

[fiction] You sit in a Goodwill engulfed in the sadness emitted by the abandoned objects, each with their own story you’re sure, and the dejected shoppers. Your chosen object is a $20 chair, cracked red leather outlined by shining buttons. You listen to a man, ratty t-shirt and balding blonde hair, sitting in a different […]

Á La Carte: The Spring of Rapeseed Flowers

[translated poetry] Thousands of Chinese Acres of Spring When the budding of a tree isn’t closely observed Rapeseed flowers     have unfolded the season by their full blossoms The golden dream of the earth     thus rolls out under the cloud flowers Is woven in the wind      and undulates to the farthest in March Rapeseed flowers have […]

Spotlight: Healing

[creative nonfiction] 1: Adab Being with family is the ultimate exercise in learning good adab. There is no simple translation for that Arabic word. Adab. A-da-ba. Turn it around, and you get ba-da-a: beginning. But you live in the West now. Your parents lifted you out of that loving, prickly embrace and introduced you to […]