Submit

show us your work

Subscribe

to the publication

ProForma

enter contest

Submit

show us your work

Subscribe

to the publication

ProForma

enter contest

CNF

Evaporated

by Magda Montiel Davis

I DANCE, the American way: One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock, rock! hold up my ponytail with one hand like my sister and her amigas up the hill, side-step across our backyard—you have to make sure to move your hips when you do this. Right before the song ends, I shimmy pretend titties, kick high my right leg, and throw myself back. And that takes a lot of believing: that a pile of dirty laundry is your sister, that she’ll catch you before you fall.
        Sweaty and salty, I jump in the backyard sink that our criada uses to scrub our clothes up-down the washboard and shampoo a stinky Laika, the Spaniel we named after the dog the Russians sent off into space. It’s fun to take a bath in that sink, naked outside in the sun. I stretch back, look up at the blue of the Havana sky, and make a plan: I will build a beach in our backyard. Anything to do with water—even though I haven’t yet learned to swim—I love. So I slip on my flip-flops, find Mami smoking in the kitchen and ask her, Will she take me to Avenida Malecón? Where Ché, Camilo, and Fidel smiled wide and waved high on olive green tanks past giant ocean waves that crashed against the vast expanse of legendary seawall.
        Back from the Malecón, beach bucket in hand, I pour the salt water across our backyard, the same way Mami pours her cake batter round and round her baking pans. The next morning, I jump out of bed like I do on the 6th of January, the Day of Epiphany, celebrating the showing of Baby Jesus to the Three Wise Men. Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar. I race to the backyard. But the water is gone. “Evaporated,” my sister says. She says it like this: “E-va-po-ra-ted”—puts her hand on her waist—“You’re so stupid”—pushes her hip to the side—“You’re a dreamer.”

Magda Monteil Davis
Magda Montiel Davis is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, where she was awarded an Iowa Arts Fellowship. Kissing Fidel: a Memoir of Cuban-American Terrorism in the United States won the 2020 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction and will be published in the fall. “Ashes Over Havana” won the 2019 Earl Weaver Baseball Prize and was selected for inclusion in Best Women’s Travel Writing. Magda is a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, an immigration lawyer, and was the first recipient of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s national Pro Bono Award. She divides her time between Key Biscayne, Florida, and Iowa City, a UNESCO City of Literature.
Submit your work! Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, seeks high quality submissions from both emerging and established writers. We publish craft essays and interviews as well as fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and we want to see your best work, regardless of form, style, or subject matter. We read general submissions from May 15 - August 15 and from March 15 - April 30 for our ProForma Contest.

More CNF

Peter Galligan

Susie Revisited

Peter Galligan is a communications manager from Denver, Colorado. He is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary master’s degree in writing and business administration at Western New Mexico University. His work has appeared in journals such as Mud Season Review, From Whispers to Roars, Red Savina Review, and Metrosphere. He also produces electronic dance music under the name “Medias Res,” and his music has been featured on numerous EDM compilations.

Read More »
Andrea Rehani

Red by Andrea Rehani

Andrea Rehani is an Assyrian-Iraqi-American prose and poet writer. Her work has been published in MAKE: A Literary Magazine. Currently, she is an ESL professor for international students. In addition, she is working toward her PhD in Curriculum Studies at DePaul University. Andrea is a captain and member of Poems While You Wait. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Prose from The New School and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Northeastern Illinois University. Andrea lives in Chicago.

Read More »
Magda Monteil Davis

Evaporated by Magda Montiel Davis

Magda Montiel Davis is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, where she was awarded an Iowa Arts Fellowship. Kissing Fidel: a Memoir of Cuban-American Terrorism in the United States won the 2020 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction and will be published in the fall. “Ashes Over Havana” won the 2019 Earl Weaver Baseball Prize and was selected for inclusion in Best Women’s Travel Writing. Magda is a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, an immigration lawyer, and was the first recipient of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s national Pro Bono Award. She divides her time between Key Biscayne, Florida, and Iowa City, a UNESCO City of Literature.

Read More »

More CNF

Peter Galligan

Susie Revisited

Peter Galligan is a communications manager from Denver, Colorado. He is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary master’s degree in writing and business administration at Western New Mexico University. His work has appeared in journals such as Mud Season Review, From Whispers to Roars, Red Savina Review, and Metrosphere. He also produces electronic dance music under the name “Medias Res,” and his music has been featured on numerous EDM compilations.

Read More »
Andrea Rehani

Red by Andrea Rehani

Andrea Rehani is an Assyrian-Iraqi-American prose and poet writer. Her work has been published in MAKE: A Literary Magazine. Currently, she is an ESL professor for international students. In addition, she is working toward her PhD in Curriculum Studies at DePaul University. Andrea is a captain and member of Poems While You Wait. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Prose from The New School and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Northeastern Illinois University. Andrea lives in Chicago.

Read More »
Magda Monteil Davis

Evaporated by Magda Montiel Davis

Magda Montiel Davis is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, where she was awarded an Iowa Arts Fellowship. Kissing Fidel: a Memoir of Cuban-American Terrorism in the United States won the 2020 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction and will be published in the fall. “Ashes Over Havana” won the 2019 Earl Weaver Baseball Prize and was selected for inclusion in Best Women’s Travel Writing. Magda is a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress, an immigration lawyer, and was the first recipient of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s national Pro Bono Award. She divides her time between Key Biscayne, Florida, and Iowa City, a UNESCO City of Literature.

Read More »
Nicole Walker

Grass by Nicole Walker

Nicole Walker is the author of Sustainability: A Love Story (2018). She has previously published the books Where the Tiny Things Are (2017), Egg (2017), Micrograms (2016), Quench Your Thirst with Salt (2013), and This Noisy Egg (2010). She edited for Bloomsbury the essay collections Science of Story with Sean Prentiss and Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction, with Margot Singer. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award and is a noted author in Best American Essays.

Read More »