Cover Photo: This illustration shows two brown hands holding a collection of green gems--some are cut to look as if they are sparkling, others show old Spanish newspaper clippings. In the facets of one gem, we seem men holding up guns and pointing them toward the sky.
Illustration by Sirin Thada for Catapult


when his niece asks / tell me about Chía, the answer is always just: it’s a long story / but I think what you’re telling me, is that language is an inadequate grieving


uncle, today I spoke with your neurologist and I translated what he said for you

folded paper instructions with dosages

when he says that the medication will likely have no effect

translation is empathy, but I am uneasy about these choices

  but this is a third death, after a war-torn childhood

why not war-shattered, mirror multiplied   war-sunk to the bottom of an ocean    war-broken and planted in the earth   war-drenched in our red velvet-lined insides

a man with no childhood kills his memories and when his niece asks

but I think what you’re telling me, is that language is an inadequate grieving

here, you are using language against itself—choosing to kill it back, with a heavy tongue

  but this is a third death, after immigration / to an implication nation

there is a system where the Ontario government pays directly for the taxi and neurologist

translation is empathy, but it is also complicity / uncle, can we refuse this ‘kindness’?

I read the wikipedia page for Las Violencias:   

my name, an iterative process: gracias d-d-d-d-do-do-do-dor-dor-dori-dorit-dorita

  45 years in Toronto and still no Inglish.


Editor’s noteLanguage is an inadequate grieving and yet it's all we have. This is the paradox at the core of Dora PrietoPepe. Grief is a problem for translation, Prieto implies, especially so when one straddles the threshold of multiple worlds and languages (when one inhabits the threshold rather than simply moving across it). We do not place an embargo on emotion, though. The acts of translating between Spanish and English, between the poetic and the domestic, between the past and the presentthese are ways, however minor or fleeting, of making claim to the world. The speaker of Prietos poem carves open space for an ailing family member without Inglish.In so doing, he is afforded a lyric subjectivity. It is a gesture whose love is so enormous I feel changed having borne witness to it.

— Billy-Ray Belcourt, poetry editor

Dora Prieto is a Mexican-Canadian emerging writer and translator. Raised between rural Nova Scotia and Chiapas, Dora is at home in central Mexico and on the west coast. Her fiction and poetry have been published in Acentos Review, Room Magazine, and SOMOS Magazine among others. She currently lives, dances, and writes on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, also known as Vancouver. She is completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.