C/LS 21(1) Fall 2021


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The precocity of our physical bodies has been laid bare since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic. For too long, human sentience afforded us an arrogance about our place in this world. We felt quite confident in our invincibility as a species and our assumed domination over the abundance of life this planet has to offer.

A protean microscopic virus has exposed this fallacy, unjustly ravaging the most vulnerable populations, namely elderly, Black, and Brown communities. Our quest to stop the spread resulted in heightened attention to how close our bodies come in contact with each other—how our hands touch, how our breaths mingle—and how reliant we are upon these points of contact.

This hyper awareness made it inevitable to locate a through line in this issue’s content related to how central our bodies are to our ways of knowing, our ways of being. Our contributors engaged how identities are sometimes legibly inscribed on our bodies and at other times not, and how we tend to adorn our bodies to signal identity.

In the creative writing section, the poetry, fiction, and memoirs also accentuate various imaginaries of the body. A series of eight poems by three different poets each uniquely position bodies as liberatory and wonderous in their dynamism and resilience. Three other narratives round out this section: a fictional story considers what is means to other bodies and to love othered bodies, a creative non-fiction piece explores what it means to render bodies as disposable by highlighting the violence and trauma inflicted along the U.S.-Mexico border, while a memoir accounts her worries about her mother, a medium whose body was ravaged by the COVID-19 virus.

Image: Don’t touch me, I am sensitive (2018) 23” x 23” Oil in Oil by Josie Del Castillo


A Voice Without Words
Josie Del Castillo


Epidemics and Embodied Ways of Knowing
Sonya M. Alemán


Am I Chicana Enough?: Identity (In)security in Chicana Poetry
Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera

Rasquache Domesticana: Technologies of meXicana Self-Fashioning
Sara V. Hinojos & Aída Hurtado


Editor’s Commentary: Protecting our Bodies
Grisel Y. Acosta

Eva y Julia
Elodia Esperanza Benitez

The Railroad in the Skies / Outside the Turtle’s Shell / Shipwreck on the Shores of the Potomac
Violeta Orozco

Sandía / Las Abuelitas /  Poem for an Architect / Canicas
Dorotea Reyna

El Salvador—The Savior
Vanessa E. Vega

Reimagining La Llorona: Looking into the Border Crisis
Pico del Hierro-Villa

A Dream is like a Phone Call Away
Guillermina Gina Núñez-Mchiri


The Chicana/o/x Dream is Much More than Individual Success
Cynthia D. Villarreal

Madres Revolucionarias Transforming Chicana/Latina/Women of Color M(Other)Work
C. Alejandra Elenes

Illuminating Borderlands Spatial Stories in Marisol Cortez’s Luz at Midnight
Cathryn J. Merla-Watson

Bearing Witness: Uniting Arabyya and Chicana Methodologies
Lucinda Banegas-Carreon & Isaías Rogel

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