• By Maite Urcaregui (she/her)
  • Art “Untitled” by Canon Hastings

Maite Urcaregui joined The Catalyst as the graduate teaching assistant for the 2019-2020 year and has remained a fangirl ever since. Maite graduated from UCSB with her PhD in English with dual emphases in Black Studies and Feminist Studies in 2022. Her time with The Catalyst remains one of the fondest parts of her PhD program. It encouraged her to foster her own creative practice and allowed her to build community with students in ways that aren’t always possible in the traditional classroom. Now, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at San José State University, Maite draws on what she learned from The Catalyst to incorporate creative writing and comics making exercises into all of her classes. She continues to follow the latest issues online and is really proud of the ways The Catalyst has continued to grow and flourish and is so honored to have been a part of it. Her latest read and source of creative inspiration is Jean Guerrero’s Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir.

I understand,
he says,
interrupting the barista,
a young woman
who is explaining that they’ve
run out of
the sandwich he’s

His brisk declaration
belies the lie, though.
He does not

The barista’s,
the woman’s
apologetic explanations
take on a softer tone than
the one I registered just earlier
at the cash register.

Her words melt around his hard
edges, trying to
remedy something,
or someone,
that has not been injured,
only inconvenienced.

An understanding
shaped by a lifetime of
skirting around the sharp
right angles of
un-understanding men
who want her to
make them a sandwich.

Looking over my cake pop
that is supposedly a bumble bee
but looks like a cat,
it all feels familiar,
and a bit funny.

The man, a punchline
to a joke that he does not yet