Maria Isabelle Carlos

Maria Isabelle Carlos (she/her) is a writer and editor from Columbia, Missouri. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Tin House Online, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net. She is the winner of the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award and received Honorable Mention for the Rita Dove Poetry Award from the Center for Women Writers International Literary Awards. 


"When Ma told me about the manananggal — the vampiric monster who divided her body in half, sprouted wings and flew, hunting pregnant women and little children — I did what most kids did when their mother told them anything: I believed her."

Backlit in the window’s bright glare, the string of garlic could’ve been a fistful of flowers, knotted together and hung upside down from a nail in the frame. Each bulb was its own expanding blossom, skin peeling off in concentric circles like translucent petals. I would push a dining chair to the kitchen counter, scramble to my feet, tiptoe around the rice cooker, the knife block, the coffee maker, and pluck peels from the dried-out clusters.