“I had to leave L.A., wander for years, then return to its perpetual summers to learn who I was in translation and why, despite the varying claims that writing about myself and my family’s experiences was steeped in narcissism or boxed in ethnic, immigrant literature, to struggle with this conflicted, untranslatable, racial, and gendered identity was a necessary and political act of visibility.

I write against tangential divagation, I write autofiction, a literary tradition many Black artists have been doing for decades, as a means to say not only that I exist, but that my familia, and that I, have survived.

— “TANGENTIAL DIVAGATION: Notes of an Immigrant Daughter,”
VIDA: Women in Literary Arts

TAYO Issue 5_FrontCover_Front Cover     Print


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“This First Breath,” Winner of Flash Fiction Prize (2015)
Washington Square Review

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“Walang Hiya, Brother,” Winner of Fiction Open (2013)
Glimmer Train Stories

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“Dead Girl in the Bed,” Day One


“Mercy,” Guernica Magazine


“How to Leave Familia,” [PANK]

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“What Comes from Silence,” Midnight Breakfast


“Scorched-Earth,” Guernica/PEN Flash Series

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“Dying Down in the Heart,” Aster(ix) Journal


[ More selections of Melissa’s work ]

“They Call Us Resilient,” Center of Art + Thought
“Against Explanation,” Twelfth House
“The Childhood Field No Longer There,” Eleven Eleven Magazine
Poems, The Bakery