Photo by Lacie Slezak. Courtesy of Unsplash.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re dipping into stories about love’s agonies and ecstasies from our archives. From secret fantasies to the body of the beloved to the feeling of language on the tongue, these writers explore the many things that make our hearts beat faster.
“At the moment of tripartite lovemaking, jealousy and desire compete with equal ferocity.”
—Gabriella Weiner’s chronically unfaithful protagonist finds satiation in transgression in
translated by Lucy Greaves. “Three,”
“A glutton for you: / When my mealtime is over / I lick my finger . . .”
—In Elvira Riveiro Tobío’s sensual
an “omnivorous poet” consumes the beloved. Translated by Adrian Nathan West. “Carnia Haikai,”
“Effie hadn’t come from the outside; she’d unfolded from within Darka like one of her own organs.”
—A woman is haunted by the specter of a fiery adolescent friendship in Oksana Zabuzhko’s
translated by Askold Melnyczuk. “Girls,”
“Only another fetishist can appreciate the thousand and one dramas and sacrifices involved in getting the piece we desire.”
—In Cristina Peri Rossi’s
secret cravings take infinite forms, from stockings to slot machines to (only left) shoes. Translated by Tobias Hecht. “Fetishists Anonymous,”
“The night / is at rock-height trying to pronounce / your name: hot, salty in my mouth.”
—Flávia Rocha channels the “heat of language” in an excerpt from
, translated by Idra Novey. Um País
Published Feb 13, 2018 Copyright 2018 Jessie Chaffee
Jessie Chaffee is blog editor at
Words without Borders and the author of the debut novel (Unnamed Press, 2017). She received a 2014–2015 Fulbright Grant in Creative Writing to Italy to research and complete the novel. Her fiction has been published in Florence in Ecstasy Literary Hub, The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Global City Review, and Bluestem, among others, and she has been granted fellowships by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ox-Bow, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She earned her BA in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and her MFA in fiction at the City College of New York.