Creative Non-Fiction

Second Memory

Second Memory

What else did Barthes write? I cannot decipher you because I do not know how you decipher me. I learn to pull the signified from the mouths of other women who once looked like me. I learn to pour water from one vase into another heirloom. There is the slight residue...

Baby Shark

Baby Shark

“Baby Shark” is the honourable mention for Room’s Short Forms Contest 2019. Many years ago, when I was four, I made a bargain with dida. If she took me for a movie in the evening, I would eat my lunch without fuss, like a bhalo meye. “Okay,” she said, “It has to be a...

Dazzle Camouflage

Dazzle Camouflage

“Dazzle Camouflage” is the honourable mention for Room's Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2019. Here's what the judge, Terese Marie Mailhot, has to say about the essay: “‘Dazzle Camouflage’ was full of beautiful language and the depth of the work was wonderful to sit...

Satiate

Satiate

This is what I can tell you: On a June night in 1986, my mother drinks from a tall glass of ice water. The radio might be on. If it is on, she is listening to Patti or Luther or The Pointer Sisters or Whitney. She might be singing, voice off-key but still rising...

Untangling Roots

Untangling Roots

I have my mother’s hair. It is a thick, deep black—the kind she calls wūhēi. The strands fall straight down my back after I wash it, glossy and sleek like the feathers of a crow. It never holds a curl. I have only ever had it cut in malls, or in the basements of...

Burning at the Close

Burning at the Close

Every now and then I catch it: a cluster of motes, a brown gathering at the tops of my cheekbones, age spots; grey hairs shot through with light, fibre-optic electric in the fluorescent glow of a grotty bathroom; the fleshy syncopation of my upper arm, waving a...

The Pool

The Pool

Christine was charming and friendly, but I had begun to dislike her with a fiery intensity months before. It was visceral, and I couldn’t quite understand it. My disdain flustered her; I could see it in her eyes when they met mine. I had unmasked her. She thought I...

My Name is a Typo

My Name is a Typo

You know you’re ethnic as hell when your own smart devices immediately autocorrect your Korean name. Apparently, according to Apple, Jiyoon is incorrect. Instead, their devices offer a plethora of alternatives; the most notable being Jason, June, Jouoom (this one...

Roping It In

Roping It In

“The calm lunatic—now that is something to aspire to.”—Mary Ruefle, “On Fear” I learned to skip this year. I use a heavy, knotted rope that thwacks the ground and burns my shoulders and whips my bare toes raw when I stumble. In the early days I’d walk around with...

An Atmospheric Pressure

An Atmospheric Pressure

for Gordy 24. Picture the girl. See her pull the black cardigan closed in a tight fist as she shoves the heavy door open with her shoulder. The warm evening air hits her like a slap in the face. As she steps out onto the sidewalk and sees the sunset bleeding orange...

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