Samantha Tetangco
Baptism for the Living
If you don’t break your ropes when you are alive, do you think ghosts will do it after? --Kabir
And isn’t that the opposite of how we usually talk of inheritance? Child as possibility. Child as hope. That little baby a bundle of her mother’s unfinished self. Is it any wonder my wife would rather feed hawks than share her womb lest she lose a part of herself to another being’s hunger? It isn’t that baby’s fault that she was that baby once. Baby as transference. Baby as obstacle. Baby as all it can never possibly be. Better then that we are guided by ghosts who can tie or break or bind invisibly. Better that we cannot see the woman undoing the ropes while we sleep. Better that one morning, we simply wake to the bruises. We roll our wrists. We ache. We open our hands, and just like that, without us knowing, we are free.

Samantha Tetangco is a Filipino-American writer and teacher. A multi-genre writer, her short stories, creative nonfiction, and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in dozens of literary magazines including The Sun, Zone 3, Gargoyle, Phoebe, Gertrude and others. She has an MFA from the University of New Mexico and is the Associate Director of Writing at the University of California, Merced. In her dailiness, Tetangco struggles with what it means to be a queer person of color who doesn’t often write about being a queer person of color. More often, her work revolves around the multitudee of places she’s once lived and (often) still calls home, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and California’s Central Valley where she currently lives with her wife and their two dogs. For more on Sam, visit