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YES FEMMES is an online experiment that publishes writing and digital projects working toward a femme aesthetic. We're interested in writing that explores the limits of the body, that's campy or fannish, that engages with witchcraft or the occult, that has an excess of feeling, that looks to animals and plants as models or collaborators, that considers how digitality might be femme, and that moves toward the horizon of queerness. We plan to publish irregularly, according to our feelings, the cycles of the moon, and other factors.

YES FEMMES was conceived of first as a reading series by Sam Cohen and Gina Abelkop, while they were floating together in the ocean off the coast of a Malibu beach. Its digital iteration is made in northeast Los Angeles, edited by Sam Cohen and designed by Sandra Rosales.

Submissions, pitches, and inquiries at yesfemmes@gmail.com.

Mother, Father, Sister
Saehee Cho

Mother,
Sliding through a closing door.

Father,
A time when love was kind of insect-like mimicry.

one.
one.
two.
one.

Sister,
A summer, when we truly felt the season move and pass
Taking weekly note of the spots where the sun hit the bedroom floor
A fall Sunday turns red at 3 in the afternoon.

Sister,
Consider that the truest edge of emotional value is in the motion of looking back.

It comes angled.
Sly.

Mother,
A parade of spirits.

Father,
Where are your spirits?

It’s possible that mother took those too. Your spirits and her spirits grew confused and merged like water drops traveling on the windshield of a moving car. Isn’t this what marriage is?

Father,
And when mother left, the spirits chose her.

Sister,

Can we break something and leave it intact? You look straight at me when you talk of heartache. And I tell you to break, to unhinge and then slide.
It is good and right to grow milky from your own sadness because we all have to serve that kind of time. Let’s call them growing pains.

Sister,

It has never been about the sensation of pain when I bring my own fist to my chest. I’m looking for the act and then the result—the simple exertion of will onto the body and then a bloom, a color spreading.


Does this make it easier for you?

Father,

Today I caught myself thinking, I am filled up with the spirit. But what spirit? Yours father? It is heavy, it both lumbers and persists. It is vigilant in its misery.

Father,

I imagine if I wanted to weigh the sagging fullness of your sorrow I’d use biblical units of measure. I might measure in palms or ephah or by the bushel. I remember reading the Book of Solomon and only feeling the impossibility of measure.

Sister,

You equate my expressed love of so many things with a kind of insincerity. As if we can only love enthusiastically to a point, a sourceless lake from which we debit feeling until the water ebbs
away from its shores.

What if I just love so many things?
And in any case, the water has to give way to something. Nothing dries up to reveal nothing.

Sister,
I see you toggle heavy between spirits. I see you burn low.

Mother,

When I mention the various misfortunes of father you wax over, your expression wipes clean and I can see that you did not ask for this. You did little persuading to have the spirits follow. They just came and you did not so much open your arms as you let them descend on you. They came at you almost violent, and you came to know that even happiness can leave white in the hair.

Sister,
Let’s entertain the possibility that we are the spirits. Who did you follow? Who did I?


Hardly anything falls evenly in the middle. Split open a yielding avocado and even the pit will choose a side.

Mother,

It felt right that I should tell you in a car, in transit, between a start and an end. I told you of that puzzled time, the way I can only remember still images as if presenting to my own mind, evidence.
How it marked me

Mother,
Your spirits offered to me as birth rite, blankness.

Sister,

There were those years when you lived very far away and we’d reach out but had nothing to say. I’d call only to recall with you fabricated histories.

Remember when we traveled to Chile to see the lapis mines. A man in our hotel told us that the blueness of the stone was the result of electrons excited by the sun. We lay ourselves tight in the crevice of a mine, a wedge of crusting lapis between us, and we looked broadly up at the sky, feeling our electricity stir.

Mother,
It seeded me, a slow moving stain

Mother,
The secret to a good relationship with you has always been blind faith.

Sister,
The secret to good relationships has always been blind faith.

Mother,

Your taught us
all love was suspect but ours.

Mother,

You said discretion and I held the word like it might come apart like wet sand, crumbling when pressed.

Mother,

A greediness came over you, something fearful took hold and gripping. You called towards your spirits and knotted them to your bed. I cannot precisely locate the moment. A spasm of change, buzzing vigorously, making impossible and amorphous shapes.

Sister,

You point to a time, like a fly on the wall, saying this is when a light went out in me. I look in that direction and see hot absence, a pink flare.

Mother,
Being loved by you is to grow porous, to let in a small burning.

Sister,
We cannot measure distance by land bound terms. We are leagues, we are fathoms away.

Sister,

Whether we are by nature, similar or dissimilar is not the point. We feared comparison, and so, diverged.

Sister,

We broke everything mother asked us to. It pleased her to know that an unraveling was committed in her name.

Father,

It would be different if you survived through a great sweep of fortitude. Your survival was mute and bruised, you suffered not because of great valor but because it consumed you whole.

Sister,
In you I see, as you see in me this throb of silence


You ask about the impulse to turn the blade inward.
I say
It’s true that the body bears witness.

Sister,

A bruise is also an imprint, the trace of where the world has imposed on us.
What is a bruise if not a hurt in the act of delay?

Sister,

I’m sorry that I made a savior out of you. We all need something to hoist up to godhood. I can say, on my part, that I needed something immeasurably bigger than myself.

Mother,
Your love, it sways

Mother,

I remember small parts, sediment. Indistinct but brilliant little bits from a history, misplaced. I recall the feeling of being so much and then nothing. The sensation of being broken into. My breath growing tight in its rhythms. And then a stop, followed by clean blank space.


It comes back to me, edged in a kind of heat

Sister,

Do you remember when she smashed a teacup on your face and you were swelling purples for a month? How she threw away all the photos of you from that time.

Sister,

Do you remember when she dragged you up the stairs by your hair? midway up. Your feet gone limp
midway up

Sister,
What about the metal bristled hairbrush? Do you remember that?

Sister,
Do you remember the lightness, the bell-like echo—that white space that follows.

Mother,

What changed in me was my sense of the shape, the texture of pain
Girth, would be the appropriate dimensional measure of it.

Sister,

In sleep I will my body to dissolve, for everything to disjoint. Muscles cracking loose from bone. Organs gliding away from their center. I dream of rubbing myself away. Crushing skin against the sheets until there is nothing but a rawed form glowing with newness.

Saehee Cho is a writer and cook. She is the founder of SOO N, a food concept grounded in an on-going artistic engagement in all things culinary. Her poetry and fiction has been published in Tierra Adentro, Black Clock, Sidebrow, RECAPS, Entropy, and Eleven Eleven. She is an organizer and regular contributor for Enter>Text, an ongoing performance series interested in the expansive and immersive experience of literature. She lives and eats and writes in Los Angeles.