My belly’s big & fat with pregnancy, & I wish I could test my blood for crazy. It runs in my family. One of my uncles sometimes thinks he’s turning into a dog. He gathers all the street dogs in the neighborhood & leads them on hunts, chasing strangers down alleys. Allegedly, one night, he went home muddy & smelly, growled in my uncle’s wife’s face, & she told my mom over the phone that she woke up with hands on her neck. Another one of my uncles once disappeared for two weeks, after he voluntarily committed himself into a mental institution, after he wanted to slit his wrists, after he started seeing ghosts at all hours of the day. Another uncle, another story. Another scare. & when I tell my mother I’m scared my baby will be like one of our uncles, she laughs over the phone while eating mouthfuls of peanuts fried in garlic. Your belly is making you think those thoughts. It’s what happens. It’ll pass. I hope that’s true. But as a child, my mother also told me how my grandma was cursed by a cat-god who she butchered to feed her seven starving kids. & even if our entire family ran to America to escape, you cannot hide from the wrath of gods who gave their flesh to you so that you may live.

Cherry Lou Sy is a writer and playwright originally from the Philippines and now based in Brooklyn, New York. Her debut novel LOVE CAN’T FEED YOU will be published by the Dutton imprint of Penguin Random House in the fall of 2024.