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JOHANSSEN WAS THE WHITEST PARK in the whitest neighborhood in the whitest town where Caitlin was living her whitest life, a shiny bubble of curated playground equipment and soft rubber chips in case of unexpected falls. No urgency from the outside world would ever drown out the giggles of toddlers clinging to swings, or the shouts from older children jostling skinned elbows on the basketball court. Caitlin hadn’t planned to live in a mostly white neighborhood— especially in Southern California, of all places—but here she was. In her mostly Cuban American high school in Miami, she’d been the minority and rolled with it by getting an A in AP Spanish. In grad school, she’d come close to marrying Debashish, but she’d steered clear of the family drama (in fairness, mostly from his father in Kolkata) and married Tad from IT at the boutique publishing house where she edited art books.

Tad was the whitest name imaginable. When she tested Tad early on by praising Black Lives Matter, he’d said, “I understand what it’s like to stand out—I have red hair”, but she’d forgiven him and restrained herself from tweeting it out with a GIF of a head banging on a desk. God help her, maybe that drop of ginger exoticism had been one of the reasons she’d agreed to go to dinner and a Dodgers game with Tad and then ended up at the altar beside him two years later. That, and he was one of the few straight cis men she’d met in her dating life who wasn’t a transphobe and homophobe, and their shared passion for the environment and horror movies sealed it. Their daughter, Destiny, had inherited his bright red hair, and it was true Destiny got teased, mostly for the freckles spraying her nose.

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About Boston Review

Allies is the first publication of Boston Review's newly inaugurated Arts in Society department. A radical revisioning of the magazine's poetry and fiction, the department unites them—along with cultural criticism and belles lettres—under a project that explores how the arts can speak directly to the most pressing political and civic concerns of our age, from growing inequality to racial and gender regimes, a disempowered electorate, and a collapsing natural world.

Other Articles in this Issue

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Adam McGee, Ed Pavlić, & Evie Shockley
Sagit Emet, translated from the Hebrew
NEWT WAS NOT a little man. He was thick, hairy, and
THE NEWS ON THE COMPUTER was full of the damage from
“It will be the most wonderful sound I could ever imagine
(Winner of the Fall 2019 Aura Estrada Short Story Contest)
(a finalist for the Aura Estrada Short Story Contest)
JOHANSSEN WAS THE WHITEST PARK in the whitest neighborhood
Or infinity almost, turned upright. As in
(a Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest finalist)
Nothing that interesting has come out
(a finalist for the Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest)
(Winner of the 2019 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest)
Rachel Levitsky & Suzanne Goldenberg
Cut along the dotted lines.
‘Alams are short poems composed and chanted by Bedouin
Fix me to your idea of midnight. Meaning
Abdellah Taia, translated from the French
(from The Freezer Door)
AT THE START of 2019, gay journalist Jonathan Rauch
I FINALLY SAID IT aloud on a panel at AWP (the annual
Walter Johnson & Tef Poe interviewed by Mordecai Lyon
(from Social Poetics)
PIANIST, COMPOSER, SCHOLAR, public intellectual, and
Amy Sara Carroll is an Assistant Professor of Literary