Nonfiction: Immigration by Selene Lacayo

“Alien: *unfamiliar and disturbing or distasteful. Similar: foreign, strange, bizarre, exotic, incompatible with, antagonistic to, unacceptable to 2 …

(Footnote 2) I hated that label –alien— stuck to my forehead upon my landing in the U.S. “Your looks are so exotic.” “Your accent is unusual for a Hispanic,” people would say. I felt belittled.”

This piece first appeared in Alebrijes Review and was nominated for a Pushcart award.

Selene Lacayo is a writer and translator living in the Greater Philadelphia Area. She was the 2018 Judge’s Choice Runner-Up for the Write Michigan Short Story Contest. Her essays have been published by InCulture Magazine, Americans Resisting Overseas, and the COVID-19 Community Stories of the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Most recently, her short story Amalgam formed part of The Best Short Stories of Philadelphia published in 2021 and her interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia on her novel Velvet Was the Night was featured in Electric Literature. She is currently working on a memoir centered around the themes of belonging, identity and motherhood. You can follow her on Twitter at @LacayoSelene and on her website at

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