Mandy Torres

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee on December 21, 1993. The shortest day of the year. I’ve lived in six different states. All too young to remember most of the houses I’ve slept in. All suburbs. Only moved away from the Mississippi River once. Grew up in the swamps of south Louisiana. There was a kid that lived down the street from me who would play in the ditches until his insides were full of mud while I shoved sticks in crawfish holes and caught tadpoles with my bare hands. I never let either grow large enough.


All Dogs go to *Heaven

Things move slower when you’re not in the city. My first pet was a fish; I learned that having control was letting it go free in the creek behind my house. I fell in love with photographing the sun on disposable cameras. None of them came out but it was as close as I could get to God. I was desperate. Had a bird watching kit. Used the binoculars to find secrets. Found nothing but burned ants instead. My dad left for two years, the military made his kidneys sour. I sometimes think he raised me like he would a son. I’m more in control. I grew bitter towards my mother. Lost my first love at 16; dead in a car wreck. I’ve fallen in love a bunch of times since, and all at once have felt nothing. One time a boy taught me how to train hop—we got caught, unchained our bikes and made out behind a dumpster. There is a corner store up the road from me where I buy cigarettes and beer, an inadequate substitute for a meal on most days. I know what abuse is. The air is always sticky here so you can never get clean. I can’t remember the last time I made a good decision. I know what toxic feels like. Cold like my mother’s hands. How on most days I have to work really hard not to fall asleep on the interstate. New Orleans is virulent; I can never get away from her. Most things about being in your 20s are harmful, like how everyone I know is stagnant. Sometimes reckless drunks. It’s a bad religion. How everything happens in quiet. Where were you when the lights went out? I wonder how you got your scars. I want to document our behavior. I want to make it a source of redemption for something that might otherwise seem insufferable.

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To view more of Amanda’s work, please visit her website!