c o n v e r g e n c e:
an online journal of poetry & art

EDITOR'S CHOICE: cynthia linville's

Joey Garcia

Shirts by Katy Brown

Photos by Katy Brown

AFTER 9/11

By Joey Garcia

No one admits
that every breath
drags in ashes
of unintended martyrs.
Call it communion
if you are still religious,
this mingling of your body and blood
with people you normally jostle
on the street,
each of you wearing
that anonymous commuter face.
But nothing can save us
from the arpeggio of dying
and rising, the body's
messianic march.
And when you expire,
who will breathe you in?

— This piece was previously published in Tule Review and
nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014


By Joey Garcia

I have crouched for hours
at the hem of a river,

to witness mayflies emerging from past lives, unfurling wings
to dress the sky for mating,
watched them bind the memory of flight
into beads sacrificed as oblation to the waters,
before dropping
                              this simple life

for a sudden, graceful death.

And yet, as the ripples shiver wide,
I am still soaked in grief,
waiting for you to rise, to return to me.

Whale Spout by Katy Brown


By Joey Garcia
Yemoja is a Yoruba goddess of waterways, comfort and inspiration
As a toddler I nudged a toe into Lake Tahoe,
as my mother, aunt and uncle dawdled
over sliced ham, potato salad and mangoes.
I didn't turn to check, didn't need to.
Yemoja's call muted their world. My feet
slapped through chill water, like the heel
of a drummer's hand on deerskin, backbeat
of idyllic independence. Strode straight in,
even when sand beneath me swayed,
my obedience was opulent. I knew her
silky embrace from dreams, from the womb
(it wasn't that long before), welcomed the
weight of a love that breeds detachment.

Yemoya, assessu, assessu Eya me . . .

Going down is pleasure, no one tells you that,
loitering between dismissal and deliverance
the soul disinterred from its servitude. Only
those who hallucinate see Jesus, angels or
Buddha, the optic nerve thrashing against
brain to correlate a story to live with. Real
death is a lengthening into nothing, sinking
past stories that have named you, into everything

else. Yemoya wanted me for that but I was raised
from those depths. My uncle's taunt body piercing
the mirror, plunging down, breath held long
from a childhood diving for abalone in Belize.
He laid me out, began the baited count to snare me.
Mother screaming, terrified of my father's blame.

Yemoya olodo, olodo Yemoya.

Pledged to Yemoya, I sailed to the surface.
Back in the station wagon, my cousin, Tony, said
I steered into the deep like a zombie, like a suicide.
My aunt stopped the car and whipped him
for noticing and not yelling for help. Decades later,
the memory of our Tahoe holiday dripping into
oblivion, Tony became a cop. Lure of the deep, I guess.

— This piece was previously published in Caribbean Writer

Lodge Window by Katy Brown


By Joey Garcia

After my interview
at Eden & Son,
the Boss gives me
a tour of His holdings,
yammering about
established markets:
water, wind, light;
His experiments
in Ag & Zoology,
His expansion plans.
Says His office has
an open door policy,
but I should never enter,
something about secrets
of good & evil—
how He's tinkering
with the firewall, &
unauthorized access
is grounds for termination.
I didn't take the job.
Who cares if He created
His company from nothing—
without equal access,
how could I succeed?

Vines by Katy Brown


By Joey Garcia
Inspired by a 1930 photograph by Tina Modotti
Venus matures —
her arms curl above a belly
so large it lifts her
simple dress. I'm expecting
the dress is cotton those hands
might have picked. Against
that future she holds a child
of perhaps two, unsexed by the lens.
One leg grey stockinged, black booted,
pressed to the world where another forms.

                                                           Each kicking?

says the text.

At St. Bedes, the church of my childhood,
sunlit stained glass bled the names of Mary —
Queen of Heaven, Ave Maria, Virgin Mother,
Mother of Mercy, Virgin of Virgins, Mother of God —
on to the head and shoulders of congregants.
Radiance seeped into the aisles between pews.

Left of the altar, a plaster Mary,
stomach budding. On a hip her first —
genderless, feet bare, legs dangling. A toddler
raising the world with one pudgy hand.

That child's eyes plead for release
from our attempts to make suffering
beautiful. Isn't inevitability enough?

Years ago, a friend's physician proclaimed:
"Hail! You are graced with new life!"
confirming the pink voice of cardboard
and urine that spoke to her that morning.
A secret luxuriated between my lips:
I was pregnant, too, but only with myself.

Joey Garcia

Joey Garcia

Joey Garcia was born in Belize and lives in Sacramento with a big dog and a small cat. She has received a Pushcart nomination, poetry fellowships in Italy and Paris, and awards from Randall Jarrell International Poetry Competition and the Sacramento Library Poetry Contest. Her poems have been published in Calyx, Caribbean Writer, and several anthologies. For 20 years she has written the "Ask Joey" advice column for the Sacramento News & Review newspaper.

home   |  submit   |  editorial staff   |  editors' choice
archive   |  links   |  contributors   |  featured books