Monica Romo’s award-winning essay, “The Color of the Sun *y algunas notas del pie,” is a slalom ride of language, exhilarating line by line and filled with humor (bitter and otherwise) that seems to hold within it the world. Romo’s breathtakingly poetic prose is particularly effective at looking at our country’s recent challenging era of Trump-Covid-George Floyd, and bravely chronicles a ping-pong of personal and public emotions that is ably expressed through the essay’s dialogue of text and footnotes.

—Philip Graham

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A note on the use of Spanish: it is at times intentionally imprecise. The piece aims to reflect a speaker who contends with a vestigial knowledge of Spanish and the linguistic limitations that can result from assimilation in the United States. 

To write a speaker who deploys impeccable Spanish would have been disingenuous, and incongruous with the work’s attempt to explore problems of mixed-identity and disruptions of lineage faced while growing up in America as the child of an immigrant. 

When the reader encounters errors in Spanish, those mistakes might be read as alluding to a different kind of mistake—one often committed at the intersection of cultures, countries, and traditions: the mishandling of their convergence.

Monica Romo is a Chicana writer and activist based in Washington, D.C. She has served as the Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey Houses’ Writer-in-Residence, and has earned fellowships from Brooklyn Poets, Catharsis on the Mall, and Summer Literary Seminars. Monica is the 2022 DISQUIET International Literary Prize winner in Nonfiction. Her poetry and essays have been published by Cosmonaut’s Avenue, Brooklyn Poets, Dream Pop Press, The Inner Loop, and What They Leave Behind: A Latinx Anthology.