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Story of the Week: ‘The Capacity,’ by Cynthia Dewi Oka

Hi friends,

Here’s our latest Story of the Week…


This short story by Cynthia Dewi Oka is a speculative fiction piece about a teenage girl and her father, both pregnant in very different senses of the word. This work is in [PANK]’s environmental futures subcategory, and “The Capacity” discusses ideas of environmental catastrophe through a warped and symbol-heavy lens.

Published in [PANK] in 2021. (2,577 words)

Why We Love It:

From the very first line, our expectations are subverted, and the world-building in this story is focused on ideas of transformation and travel. By describing the characters of father and daughter as “pregnant,” the body is established as not just a house, but an ever-changing world. A shadow of dread hangs over the characters, even while there is an emphasis on youth and innocence. But Cynthia Dewi Oka is asking the questions: What are we creating? What are we destroying? How do we get back to what it is we have lost? Can we?


“You start to lie awake at night, not just because your back and hips feel crushed by the weight of your belly, but because unlike him, you don’t seem to have any new powers and you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you.”

Further Reading:

Story selected by Marina Leigh


Marina Leigh is a queer, biracial writer and photographer born and raised in Reno, Nevada, and she is currently earning her MFA in poetry as the Grisham Fellow at the University of Mississippi.

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