Winter 2024 • Vol. XLVI No. 1 FictionDecember 5, 2023 |

The Tornado

We first hear about the tornado from Chiu Ayi, who comes by our house with a bag of frozen dough so heavy it must be a descendant of the meteor that deleted the dinosaurs. None of us have seen a real tornado before, and we don’t even know how it’s possible for one to be born in California. Our mother says it must have come to seek citizenship, an alien wind with needy offspring. But didn’t we come from the sky too? Gege says. Our mother says that doesn’t count: we descended in a plane made of metal. We paid for painted armor. Tornadoes, on the other hand, don’t pay for their airfare. Chiu Ayi shakes her head and says it will arrive anyway, all the channels are reporting on it this minute, did you not see, have you been so busy and neglectful? Our mother shuts the door on Chiu Ayi and says, That woman is so arrogant. To think we need charity, just because it’s the end of the world? Still, I see the bag of congyoubing dough swinging from our mother’s fist, and she looks

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Photo of K-Ming Chang

K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award winner, a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, and an O. Henry Prize winner. She is the author of the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice novel Bestiary (One World/Random House, 2020), longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In 2021, her chapbook Bone House was published by Bull City Press. Her most recent books are a collection of stories, Gods of Want (One World/Random House, 2022), a New York Times Notable Book of 2022, and a novel, Organ Meats (One World/Random House, 2023).  Chang’s forthcoming novella, Cecilia, will be published by Coffee House Press in 2024.

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