Lupita and the Lone Ranger by Donna Miscolta


Lupita waited at the bus stop. Her fingers worried the mesh bag that held her lunch, her wallet, her keys. She resisted the impulse to glance first one way for the bus and then the other way for Rosa. Some mornings she scolded Rosa for nearly missing the bus. Other days she was harshly silent. And on the days that Rosa actually missed the bus, Lupita cursed her as she went to work alone. 

California. USA. The words that once played in her head like a song or a prayer now bullied with instructions: Speak English.

Lupita looked stubbornly straight ahead at the shuttered market across the nearly deserted street. Mrs. Dawson would open at nine just as she did on Saturdays when she greeted Lupita there for her weekly shopping. Just after Mrs. Dawson jangled open the double padlock, just after she turned the sign in the window from Closed. Please come again to Welcome, Lupita entered the tiny cramped store where the eggs were fresh but the lettuce just shy of wilting, where the light was dim and the smell of the ammonia-washed floors rose to meet the tang of herbs. If Lupita wasn’t so picky about the size of the onions or the firmness of the tomatoes she wanted, she could send one of her girls to do the shopping. Instead, she always had to rehearse her English ahead of time, scripting what she’d say to the talkative shop lady. But Mrs. Dawson asked different questions each time. Not easy ones about the weather. No, she wanted to know what Lupita thought about this or that complicated, inexplicable thing. Sometimes Lupita could do no more than smile politely.

Her tongue seemed incapable of forming the sounds of English, her mind confused by its structure, her heart despairing of the effort. Besides, what use did she have for English, sorting fish in a cannery that employed so many Chinese workers? Better for her to learn Chinese.  

Ever since the foreman put her and Rosa on separate lines and staggered their breaks, she heard Chinese all day long. Even while the foreman barked at the Chinese workers about the English only rule, there was little he could do to enforce it. He was outnumbered, which made him angry, so he took delight in exacting compliance from Rosa and Lupita, cupping his hand to indicate their Spanish reply did not register in his American ear, feigning incomprehension when they answered , or walking away and ignoring them altogether. As if they didn’t exist.  

She told Sergio of the foreman’s behavior through bitter tears, wanting him to be indignant on her behalf. At first consoling, drying her cheeks with the back of his hand, cooing gently está bien, está bien, now he only sighed and shook his head. She knew it was because he expected her to learn English. After all, he had acquired a stammering but intelligible fluency, even picking up the slang he heard at the bowling alley where he worked nights wiping up spilled beers and sweeping up Cracker Jack pieces. Her children knew English too, following the shows on the radio and retelling the latest episode of the Lone Ranger at the dinner table until Milagros remembered to turn to her and explain in Spanish. Lupita nodded, said, Good, good, meaning both that the program was good and that she was on the side of good, the side of the Lone Ranger, the one who came to the rescue. But her intent was lost on her children, who had already resumed their imitation in English of the radio characters.

Rosa was the only one she could count on. Though recently, Rosa had begun to be more mindful of the foreman and his rule. Where before she had been silent whenever he passed her as he patrolled the lines, she now tossed out some phrase in English to her co-workers. Careful, now or let’s keep up the pace. Things she had heard the foreman himself use. Lupita had only heard her do this once, on her way back from her break. But she felt certain that Rosa had made a practice of it, and it worried her, though she wasn’t sure if her concern was more for Rosa or for herself. If the foreman decided that Rosa was mocking him, he could punish her. And wouldn’t it serve her right? If Rosa’s English met with approval, well, there was only so much Lupita could do if Rosa decided to abandon Spanish. Only so much.

When she heard the bus approach, she looked up quickly to search for Rosa and saw her running awkwardly in high heels, her work shoes in hand. Her mesh bag was slung around her neck and shoulder so that the strap separated her breasts, which rebounded with her trot.

The bus reached the curb before Rosa did and when the door swung open, Lupita let her bag slip to the ground, knowing that the orange inside would be ruined and taste bitter when she ate it later. By the time she retrieved her bag and faced the exasperated driver, Rosa arrived panting through painted red lips, the smell of the sweat beading at her temples and spreading at her armpits overtaking the scent of her cheap perfume. They boarded the bus and paid their fares, Lupita ignoring the driver and Rosa offering a deferential smile. They sat where they liked in the morning because there were few people on the bus, and if they wanted, they could speak Spanish in normal rather than hushed tones.  

This morning, though, the conversation moved slowly, with Lupita meeting Rosa’s chatter with the same indifferent nods and shrugs they were often treated to by the gringos at the bank, the post office, and here on the bus. But Rosa was not deterred and talked and talked and talked about nothing, or at least nothing about which Lupita cared to hear. Lupita folded her hands tightly in her lap, wondering if Rosa was truly unaware of the effect of her tardiness. 

There were many things Lupita forgave Rosa for, a good number of which Rosa was clueless. She overlooked Rosa’s wasteful spending on lipstick and rouge, and her useless application of them. Then there was her tendency to chatter on about her dreams for the future. Lupita was tolerant there, too – for everything but Rosa’s wish for a gringo husband. There was no need for such ambition – even in Kimball Park. She let an unconcerned grunt fall from her lips in response to something Rosa said and turned to watch the growing traffic. She felt the bump of an elbow as Rosa rummaged in her bag and withdrew her knitting. For the first half of the forty-minute ride, Lupita was silent while Rosa hummed a corrido and her knitting needles clacked a tinny beat. But then Lupita relented and looked away from the window, remembering that Rosa was, after all, her long-time friend, remembering also that once she got to the cannery, she would not speak Spanish until she was on the bus back home with Rosa.

She fingered the ball of ocean-blue wool in Rosa’s lap. “Que bonito el color.”

Rosa draped the half-finished shawl across Lupita’s shoulder. “Sí,” she said, smiling. 

Lupita, feeling guilty now that she knew the shawl was for her, complimented Rosa on her earrings, bracelet, and necklace, all of which she would have to remove once she got to work. Lupita found it ridiculous that Rosa bothered with jewelry, high heels, and make-up for the morning ride to work. She was too tired at the end of the day to wear anything but her work shoes, too saturated with the smell of fish to care whether bracelets adorned her wrist, and her make-up had long since dissolved in the heat of the cannery. Still Rosa persisted in her morning routine, which is what made her late for the bus. But Lupita admitted there was something in this futile effort that aroused a tenderness for her, a feeling of protectiveness for their relationship. It was this feeling that often led Lupita to turn the conversation to their years in Mexico where they, their friendship, and their dreams originated. “Do you remember,” she asked, enumerating the Sunday strolls through the plaza, the outdoor market where they bartered eggs and vegetables for meat, the time they sneaked into the movie theater?  

But this last was the wrong memory to rekindle. Rosa told again how once at the Fiesta de San Blas she was mistaken for a famous Mexican movie star. Again there was the wistful musing whether she would have graced the screen herself had she stayed in Mexico. “Here todo es English,” she said, mixing her languages, a new habit.  

As if Rosa could be a movie star in America even if she learned flawless English. Lupita shook her head. There were no limits to Rosa’s foolishness. But Lupita didn’t say so. She let Rosa continue talking of movies and movie stars, roles she might’ve been suited for, costumes she might’ve worn, because in her excitement only Spanish tumbled from her mouth.    

When they got off the bus there were five blocks to walk, but already there was a turn in their mood and conversation. They spoke more quietly, their exchanges less frequent. By the time they reached the gate of the cannery where they joined other arrivals, most of them Chinese chattering in their piercing dialect, they stopped speaking altogether. They clasped hands as they made their way with the rest of the shift to the dented, rusty lockers where they stored their lunches and Rosa changed her shoes and stripped herself of her jewelry. Before they separated to take their places at their lines, Rosa leaned in Lupita’s ear and whispered, “Tenga un buen día.” 

“Igualmente, hermanita,” returned Lupita, who was always heartened by this reference to their sisterhood that was not a blood tie, but one of spirit and circumstance. And obligation, she thought.

Lupita followed a group of Chinese women heading to Belt A. As she walked down the corridor behind them, she turned her head slightly to avoid the smell of Chinese cooking that they seemed to wear like clothes. Lupita wondered what odors she carried on herself. Whatever they were, they were obliterated soon enough by the reek of tuna which seeped into her pores, the weave of her dress, her nostrils, and her scalp almost as soon as she stepped onto the factory floor. She quickened her pace as did the women ahead of her. One of them was Maxine, at least that’s what the foreman called her. She was Mei Xing to her Chinese friends. Lupita liked Maxine, a good worker who had used her favor with the foreman to intercede on behalf of others, for a slower worker just learning the belt, or someone for whom the language barrier had her discarding heads left and tails right instead of the other way around. Maxine had never had to mediate on Lupita’s behalf because Lupita’s work was equal to Maxine’s. There was a mutual respect that could also be a friendship, if only Maxine would not assume that Lupita’s inability to speak English also was a failure to comprehend it, prompting her to communicate with Lupita through exaggerated signs of hand and face. 

They were barely at their places when the machines started rolling and the foreman marched by shouting, “All right, ladies, let’s get to work,” a needless exercise of his vocal chords, the women having already responded automatically to the cue from the engines. Lupita’s hands moved swiftly in the pattern she had devised, an efficient sequence of motions. Her hands were themselves like fish in their sinuous movement, their sea-salt smell, even the scaliness of her chapped skin. She filled her head and tail buckets ten times before the morning break. 

As she followed her line to the break room, the foreman stepped in front of her, his name badge insinuating itself in her eyes as she lost sight of Maxine and the others headed for the tea and sesame crackers they shared among themselves. She thought of the orange in her bag, longed for its bitterness, and felt the anger rise in her as the precious minutes of her break were being stolen by this man. She faced Mr. Lewis. He was unimposing in size and despite the yellow-brown tinge of his scant hair and small eyes, his looks were colorless. Lupita realized that it was the language he spoke from his thin-lipped mouth that gave him power over her, and she concentrated hard on her own words, their sound and shape.  

“Can I help you, Mr. Lewis?” She managed a polite smile, hoped he didn’t notice that she said Loo-ees.

“Glad you asked, Lupita.” He pronounced it Lapida, and she was sure that his pronunciation caused him little concern. “I’ve been wondering, how do you say ‘gimme a kiss’ in Spanish?”

Lupita watched the leer warp to displeasure as she answered. “At work I speak only English.”  She emphasized work to remind him of her importance on the belt.

 Mr. Lewis moved aside to let her pass. “Never mind,” he said, “I’ll just ask your friend Rosa. She likes to talk to me.”

Throughout the day, Lupita tried to catch Rosa’s eye, but the foreman stalked the lines like a dog. Rosa, ever mindful of Mr. Lewis’s presence, took every opportunity to demonstrate her English. While Lupita couldn’t hear the words, she was convinced by the slow, exaggerated movements of Rosa’s lips that it was English she spoke, eager and ingratiating. There was a moment when Rosa’s back was turned and Lupita had only the grin on Mr. Lewis’s face to suggest the sum and substance of the conversation.  

At the end of the day when the machines ceased their clamor with a reluctant groan, the quiet was almost overbearing. Some of the women tested it with whoops and laughter, but most talked in near whispers or not at all until they were clear of the factory floor. Lupita found Rosa at the lockers changing into her high heels, her jewelry already dangling from her ears, neck, and wrists.  

“¿Qué estás haciendo?” Lupita demanded.  

“Just because I work in a cannery doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care about my appearance.”

“We’ll miss the bus,” Lupita warned.

“I’m ready.” Rosa led the way, but when Lupita edged ahead of her and easily overtook her by several steps, Rosa said brightly, “If we did miss the bus, I bet Mr. Lewis would drive us home.”  

The words almost caused Lupita to stop in her thick-soled tracks, but she made herself continue walking, though not so fast as to left Rosa behind. When they were on the bus, conscious of the smell of fish they brought and seated in the back to distance themselves from the contemptuous stares of the other passengers, Lupita let loose her anger in a loud rush which drew attention to them after all.

“¡Qué tontería! ¿Estás loca, mujer?”

It was the wrong approach, Lupita knew. But it was too late. She had already sent Rosa to the precipice of her pride. But instead of trying to coax her back, Lupita retreated without her, sat stiffly on her half of the bench, girdling herself with crossed arms. Rosa pulled her knitting from her bag, made a show of spreading the half-finished shawl across her lap, the shawl she was making for Lupita.

After a moment Lupita tried again. She couldn’t help it. It was as if the steady click of Rosa’s needles goaded her to persist. “Mr. Lewis is not a kind man,” she said evenly, matter-of-factly, her teeth nearly clenched. She resisted an urge to shake her finger at Rosa.

Rosa continued to knit, her eyes intent on her work. Then with a clash of her needles said, “You think you’re always right. But you’re not.”  

“Vamos a ver,” Lupita said mostly to herself since Rosa had begun to hum her corrido loud enough that some passengers turned to glare at her. Rosa disregarded them all. She might as well ignore the whole world if she ignores me, thought Lupita. She was struck by her own arrogance and how risky it felt. But then, she was right. She knew she was.

When they got off the bus Lupita made a weak show of reconciliation, patting Rosa’s arm as she said, “Hasta mañana.”  

“Tomorrow,” replied Rosa, and Lupita watched her clip-clop away in her high heels, a portion of the half-knitted shawl flapping from the bag at her shoulder.

Lupita walked briskly, head down, past the little market so as not to be waylaid by so much as a wave from Mrs. Dawson.

At home Lupita was met by the sound of the radio program in English that had her children hypnotized. They were sprawled on the rug, their eyes distant even as they gave a quick glance and half smile, or some other sign of welcome that Lupita insisted as her due. Lupita didn’t playfully kick the shoe of the child lounging closest to her foot as she did some days. 

Today she only shrugged, willing, almost eager to feel that sense of loss, that her children were as absent to her in the evening when she came home from work as they were when she left them sleeping in their beds in the morning. It gave her more fuel for her resentment at Rosa, and as she headed into the kitchen she was almost disappointed that Sergio had remembered to turn the flame off under the beans. It was what she reminded him of each morning before she left for work, because once he did forget and let them cook until they stuck, a thick crust of brown, to the bottom of the pot. She had been angry about coming home from work and having no beans for dinner. But more than that, she had been upset at Sergio’s neglect of something so basic and necessary.

Sergio came in buttoning a clean shirt and paused to kiss Lupita’s cheek and ask about her day. Lupita sank into a chair, wanting to tell her story, wanting Sergio to be on her side, but all she managed was “como siempre,” as she watched him match the last button to its hole and straighten the fit of the shirt over the slight budge of his belly. He would’ve liked one of the shirts that had Victory Lanes emblazoned on the back and his name on the front above the pocket. Only Jake and Hoyt who worked at the counter, assigning lanes to the bowlers and ringing up totals on the cash register, were dressed in the official shirt. Sergio was the janitor.  

“You deserve a shirt,” she noted.

“So what’s new?” he asked, though she could tell he was grateful for her words.

Lupita went to the refrigerator and took out the chicken soup she had cooked the night before. “There is a problem with Rosa,” she said as she set the pot on the stove, startling even herself with its clang.

Sergio raised an eyebrow, waited for Lupita to continue.

“She is becoming too friendly with the foreman. It is only trouble for her.” Lupita stirred the soup, ready to explain the whole situation to Sergio, to show him how she was being wronged by Rosa.  

But Sergio only patted her on the shoulder. “Be her friend.”

Yes, thought Lupita, and shouldn’t Rosa do the same?

Dinner was hurried, with Sergio leaving early for the bowling alley and Lupita already chopping vegetables for tomorrow’s stew before clearing the table. The children were back in the living room, their heads cocked to the strains of the Lone Ranger theme, which Lupita knew was the sound of rescue and triumph. While she waited for the cooking oil to heat, she cleared the table and piled the dishes in the sink to be washed, and these tasks of setting her kitchen in order, of putting things in their place, helped her decide how she must deal with Rosa. She must let Rosa go her own way, and Rosa must know that she will not follow. It was not an ultimatum. It was just the way it was.

Lupita tested the oil and when it sputtered at her, she dropped the onions in and then the carrots and celery to sizzle – a long hiss that she finally doused with water. She covered the pot and left the vegetables to simmer.

When she was done in the kitchen, she sat with the children while Milagros read them a story. She read in English, of course, and Lupita was proud of her prowess with the language of hard consonants and confusing array of vowel sounds. Lupita praised her in Spanish, as if offering for contrast its soothing rhythms. 

The next morning Lupita and Rosa arrived at the bus stop at the same time. As they approached from opposite directions, there was no direct eye contact. Each held the other in broad focus, Lupita peripherally registering the red blot of Rosa’s mouth at a distance, but up close failing to contain the urge to scan her face. They exchanged greetings, smiling and cordial, and when the bus pulled up, it was as if everything was the same. Except that Rosa didn’t have her knitting. Her plump hands rested in her lap as she hummed her corrido, and Lupita turned to the window. The bus headed west toward the bay, through the residential neighborhoods lined with shaggy palm trees or drooping acacias, past the business district with its barred windows and chained doors, and into the industrial area with its gray and brown factories, the color of slugs and moths.  

At the cannery they parted even before they got to the lockers, Lupita falling in step with Maxine who employed emphatic gestures even to ask, “How are you today?” Lupita responded quickly to prove her understanding, “I’m very fine thank you, and how are you?  It’s a very nice day, isn’t it?” And she conceded to herself that English was necessary at times, that she couldn’t always cling to her Spanish. Which was no reason to forsake it.

At the end of the day when Lupita picked up her bag at her locker, Rosa was already there waiting for her. Her hair was combed neatly, her make-up was freshened, and she was wearing her high heels. Though she sat decorously on the wooden bench, when she spoke, it was with childish excitement. “Mr. Lewis has offered me a ride home. And you can come too.”

When Lupita responded with a hard stare, Rosa explained what she thought Lupita must’ve been missing. “We can go together.” Though her voice was bright, there was a note of pleading.

“Did Mr. Lewis invite me?” 

“No, but it’s all right,” Rosa said. “He said if I need anything, just ask.” She blushed with pleasure underneath her rouged cheeks.

Lupita thought Rosa a pitiful sight. Wanting to both save and punish her, she was confused for a moment by these two impulses. But then she blurted harshly, “Go, if you want.”

“Bueno.” Rosa rose on her high heels to leave. “Hasta mañana.” She waited for an answer, but Lupita stubbornly persisted down the path she had veered and merely waved her off. She didn’t watch Rosa walk away, but waited until the sound of her high heels no longer echoed above the bustle of the other departing workers, and so missed her bus – a misfortune she could blame on Rosa, which was easier than thinking about any misfortune Rosa might encounter on her ride with Mr. Lewis.

When she got home, Sergio met her at the door, looked at her with worry.

She told him she missed the bus. “Es nada,” she said, relieved that he was ready to leave for the bowling alley.  

But he didn’t go just yet. He hadn’t stopped looking at her, though the worry on his face was now mixed with doubt. “And Rosa?”

“No,” replied Lupita, “she didn’t miss the bus.”

Apparently unwilling to ask any more questions and not wanting to be late, Sergio gave Lupita a gentle kiss on the cheek and left. She went inside and kissed each of her children in turn. The looks of puzzlement she elicited she accepted as readily as if they had kissed her back. She went about her evening tasks with great concentration, but every so often she heard Sergio ask, “And Rosa?” until she was so anxious for the next day that she sent the children to bed early, producing not only puzzlement this time but protest, a distraction she welcomed and even prolonged, engaging in squabbles over tooth-brushing and face-washing. She was judicious in her response to her recalcitrant children and when she went to bed herself, she did so with the satisfaction of knowing that she had acted in their best interest. Still, she slept poorly and was awake when Sergio came home at 2:30, even though she pretended to be asleep.

In the gray morning lit only by the blue flame beneath the simmering beans, Lupita prepared a sandwich of hardened cheese and a thin slice of ham. Her hands trembled for lack of sleep and her head was thick and dull. But she was prepared to struggle through the day. It was a matter of survival. She wrapped the sandwich in a sheet of brown paper, then dropped it along with a musty orange into the mesh bag. On the other burner she warmed a tortilla, doubling the glow of light in the kitchen. She absorbed its warmth and comfort, fueling herself for the day ahead. She ate standing, but not hurriedly, allowing herself a few minutes of longing for Mexico. Not for the hardscrabble life that was hers in Acaponeta in the decades since the revolution. But for the music that dwelled even in bare rooms, forced from scratchy phonographs, blared from cantinas, warbled by her neighbors. It was music she had yet to find in her new home, a town almost as dusty as her old one, but with no poetry to save it. There was only English.  

Lupita finished her breakfast and set out a stack of tortillas and a box of cornflakes for her family. Reluctantly, she left the kitchen, where the smell of beans had begun to fill the room and the slow flame underneath the pot burned steady as a friend. In the bedroom she shook Sergio until he opened one eye. “Me voy. No te olvides los frijoles,” she told him. “Los frijoles,” she said again and waited until he opened both eyes to reassure her.  

She stopped to look in on the children. Petra clung in her sleep to the side of the bed while Milagros sprawled over its width, one arm flung across her sister’s neck. Consuelo was on a mattress on the floor, curled around a pillow. They were growing so fast, but there would be more children to come. She was not finished birthing babies to keep her company in this new land. She blew kisses at their sleeping faces.

She waited at the bus stop, kept herself from pacing by concentrating on Mrs. Dawson’s store across the street, planning the conversation they would have on Saturday, anticipating Mrs. Dawson’s questions and devising possible English answers.

When the bus pulled up, she was still mouthing English phrases. Though she boarded the bus without looking around for Rosa, she could no longer ignore her absence. It was Rosa’s absence that accompanied her on the bus and into the cannery. When Mr. Lewis passed her as he inspected her line, he stopped to ask, “Where’s your friend, today?”  His tone was neutral and businesslike, but his look was triumphant, sending a chill of remorse through Lupita who answered what they both knew must be true, “She isn’t well today.”

He clucked with mock sympathy, then winked at her as he would to a conspirator. “You just see that she feels better soon.” 

All day Lupita worked like the madwoman she was, venting her anger at Mr. Lewis, her worry about Rosa, her defiance that grew from a small nub of shame beneath her breastbone as she heaved fish heads and tails with such frenzy that scales flew in the air around her, catching in the net that covered her head and landing on her cheeks, which she didn’t scrape away.

That evening Lupita rode the bus home alone for the second day in a row, grieving the losses, lamenting the sacrifices that came from living in a new country. She was too lost in her misery to remember to hurry past Mrs. Dawson’s. A rap from inside the store window jerked Lupita’s attention to Mrs. Dawson’s beckoning hand. Lupita was not in the mood for small talk, which Lupita called “tiny talk” not just for its lack of substance but for her own lack of English that limited her conversation to a few reliable phrases. Lupita smoothed her dress as if the gesture might also erase the crease in her forehead and ease the tautness at her jaw. She entered the store, the bell above the door clanging at her presence.

There were a few customers assessing the freshness of the meats or the remaining shelf life of the bananas which showed the faintest of spots. Mrs. Dawson was behind the counter, wiping its chipped surface with a rag. She talked fast. It was her nature and Lupita appreciated that she didn’t slow down her speech to distorted syllables, didn’t shout at her to aid Lupita’s comprehension. Lupita waited out Mrs. Dawson’s monologue which began with news of an unexpected delivery of tripe should Lupita need any for that soup she made, then rambled on about bread prices and stray cats and broken street lamps. Lupita understood most of the words, but today had no energy to search for English words of reply from the crevices of her brain since they were filled with just one word. Rosa. Rosa. Rosa. Suddenly, Mrs. Dawson stopped talking and peered into her face, pressed her finger to Lupita’s cheek and removed a fish scale. She studied it, a translucent flake, then wiped it on the rag she had used to clean the counter. “For a moment, I thought it was a tear,” she said with a laugh.

“No, is not,” Lupita assured her, dry-eyed and determined to stay so.

When she got home, the radio was on as always, but it was not yet time for the galloping music of the Lone Ranger show. It was another program – one with singing and laughter. The children sprawled on the floor and furniture, eyes glued to the wooden box as if they could see the words that poured from it, and for a minute Lupita stared at the box too, until she noticed Rosa’s slouched figure in the corner. Like the children, Rosa faced the radio, but her face was not alert to its merriment. She sat vacant-eyed, her knees bumped against each other and her ankles wrapped around the legs of the chair. 

Lupita approached, loosened her from the chair and led the way to the kitchen. They walked past Sergio, and Lupita avoided his gaze. Her concern at the moment was Rosa, who needed her.


Contributor Notes

Donna Miscolta is the author of the novel When the de la Cruz Family Danced (Signal 8 Press, 2011). Her short story manuscript Hola and Goodbye was selected by Randall Kenan for the Doris Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman and will be published by Carolina Wren Press in November 2016. “Lupita and the Lone Ranger” is one of the stories in Hola and Goodbye. Another story in the collection “Ana’s Dance,” won the Lascaux Prize for Short Fiction. Other stories have appeared in Bluestem, Hawaii Pacific Review, Waxwing, Spartan, and others. Excerpts from her new novel-in-progress have been published in The Adirondack Review and Crate. Anthologies that include her work are Memories Flow in Our Veins: Forty Years of Women’s Writing from CALYX; New California Writing 2013; and Kartika Review 2011 Anthology of Asian Pacific Islander American Literature. She has received fellowships and grants from 4Culture, Artist Trust, the Bread Loaf/Rona Jaffe Foundation, and the City of Seattle, as well as residencies from Anderson Center, Artsmith, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Hedgebrook, Ragdale, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Find her at