Catherine Sustana


Santa Monica Review​, Fall 2019

When the guy sitting next to me at the car wash asks if I want to see a picture of his dog, I want to say no, partly because I don’t care about his dog but mostly because I’m insulted that he was only faking interest in my dog—who’s actually right here—so he’d have an excuse to make me look at photos of his.


ZYZZYVA 32.2, Winter 2016

Los Angeles teems with people who are famous once someone explains why you should have heard of them. 

Maybe You've Been There 

Fugue 44, Winter/Spring 2013.

Geysers billow white across the blue-drenched sky -- a sky so expansive it dwarfs the jagged mountains below.  


Wilderness House Literary Review 7.4, Winter 2013.

My masseuse thinks she's clairvoyant, and I’m doing my best to help her.

The Things that Happen Next 

SLAB 8, 2013.

Blue floats through the window like a ghost again -- wish he wouldn't, but it's all he knows.

What Gets to Me

Journal of Microliterature, November 11, 2012.

No disaster or disease could ever get to me. I come from a family of pessimists; we see life as one long prelude to an inevitably tragic end. 

The Searchers 

Clackamas Literary Review 11, 2007.

A real cowboy wouldn't live in a house where the radiators creaked even louder than the floorboards and seven people shared a bathroom whose door wouldn't shut all the way. 

Lifting, Lifting, Taking Care

Passages North 24.1, Winter/Spring 2003.

I don’t know why it always happens in front of me. 


Arts & Letters 8, Fall 2002.

The Civil War still stings here. It sifts through the hot bricks on Washington Street; it flashes in the sunlight on the Mississippi.



Santa Clara Review 90.2, Spring/Summer 2002.

Though Ben does not exactly mean the world to Bella Lynn, she has wanted out of New Jersey for so long that she’s willing to forget their aborted escapes to Canada last week and to California the week before. 


The Crescent Review 16.2, 2001.

There is a possibility that things would be different if I had named my daughter Stella Rose, or Penelope Ann. 

What She Is 

Alaska Quarterly Review 18.1&2, Spring & Summer 2000.

Rachel has a handkerchief, a television, a pain that comes and goes in her left side. Rachel has a window; Rachel has birds and sky. Rachel is twenty, Rachel is fifty-three, then Rachel is twenty again. 


13th Moon: A Feminist Literary Magazine 16.1&2, 2000.

If you could have a second chance, you’d wrench the crowbar out of his hands and swing it, a heavy but graceful extension of your body, till you felt the dull, solid impact of metal against his skull. 

Imagine You Are Drowning 

Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 20.3, Winter 1999.

They weren't water people, never had been, and everything about it seemed out of their league.

Instability of the Ordinary 

Connecticut Review, Fall 1999.

Imagine the dullest, most predictable couple you know—so reliable, so available, so blissfully vacuous that you sometimes start to make fun of them, then stop yourself because they were kind to you at a time when it mattered.

Anyone’s Autobiography 

Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women 18.1, 1998.

I worry, of course, about what she can really tell me, what she really knows about her history. 


Quarterly West 44, 1997.

Benjamin Franklin sits erect at the head of the table, scribbling in a notebook. She sees him put a chicken leg in his pocket when he thinks no one is looking. 

The Remarkable Thing About Mitzi Streeter 

So to Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art 5.1, 1996.

A week ago, her husband might have said it was her ability to remember birthdays, or her skill with the orchids in the sun room, or maybe just the softness at the corners of her mouth. 

A Momma Who Would 

Crazyhorse 51, 1996.

We are sitting in the cafeteria and Bridget Bevin is flapping her gums and bragging on how cool she is with her new purple eye shadow when Miss Fielding walks up.

Revising You

Sun Dog: The Southeast Review 14.2, 1994.

So let me tell about the summer we went to the Grand Canyon, which is a very difficult story to write because it never happened.