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     The Literary Review
                                                                          Issue 8

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Quarantined in my Quarter of the World
by Edna Garcia

While in quarantine,
Enduring the excruciating effects of COVID-19,
The headaches, throat soreness, nausea, vomiting,
Diarrhea, and dysphoria,
I am deteriorating from desolation
Due to the isolation from those I love.
Lost in illness, my tired eyes turn to the media
For curative information on TV and social networking.
Besides seeing disheartening reports about freezer trailers
Filled with formerly flowering lives,
There are other reports on people not getting a chance
To tell friends and family members farewell,
Reports of a hellish system that failed the aged,
Reports of rapid infections,
Reports about dissatisfaction with social distancing,
And reports of political division.
By the time my mind processes all those reports,
I am grateful about seeing stories of bravery from doctors,
Nurses, first responders, service workers,
The heroism of neighbors nursing neighbors in need,

And above all, I am overjoyed over each opine
Showing hope for the blood in COVID-19 survivors.
Here, quarantined in my quarter of the world,
I offer them this ode
Dedicated to all who are doing something
To end our undoing.

  Edna Garcia__

Valle de Collores

When I left Collores
it was in a faded little donkey,
by a path between fences
enveloped by flower vines.
Goodbye wilderness and flowers
of the ravine by the river,
and the nights of my thatched hut,
and the peaceful calm,
and the old folks of my soul,
and my little siblings.

What grief, the one I felt
when I looked back,
and a house was being left in the distance,
and that house happened to be mine!
The very last time I turned my eye,
I saw the white flight
of that maternal handkerchief
soaked in the juice of pain.
Further beyond, smoke
disappearing in the sky.

The rural flora
was sad, opaque, wilted.
And everything, like anguish,
gripped my heart.
The donkey, to his discretion,
moved at a lazy pace.
The wind blew, aromatic
of honeysuckle and pine,
and the banyans along the way
resembled weeping willows.

I don’t remember how it was
(here I lose my memory).
Yet in my golden memories,
I remember that finally I arrived,
the city, the theater, the cafe,
the square, the park, the sidewalk,
and in a bewitching bride,
I found the burning branch,
where I hung the first nest
of my first chimera.

Later, in the pursuit of ideals,
then, wounded by envy,
and the slander and the insidiousness,
and the hatred of mortals,
and plotting triumphal dreams,
I saw the white flight again
of that maternal handkerchief
soaked with the juice of pain.
The rest, smoke
fading into the sky.

Oh, glory is but a vain dream,
and pleasure, all but wind,
and richness, torment,
and power, a coarse worm.
Oh, if it was in my hands
to erase my major triumphs,
and to my thatched hut in Collores
return in that faded donkey
by the path between the fences
enveloped by flower vines.

  Luis Llorens Torres
Translated by Edna Garcia

My Unwanted Mask

Behind layers of makeup
And coats of lipstick,
I covered my bruises
And busted lip.
Behind hair swept over a black eye
And swollen jaw,
I maintained a comforting mask
For my daughter and son.
Behind a facade for friends,
Family members and an oblivious society,
This bruised and battered woman
Hated her abusive husband,
And despised an old decade
That allowed men to use women
As possessions for uninvited desires.
Behind the fakery of matrimonial compatibility,
My newly formed self-worth emerged
And raised children on my own.
From a warring divorce,
I found the victory of peace.
Unmasked and unafraid,
I faced the future.

  Edna Garcia__

© Minerva González-Suvídad: 3. "Espíritu Cafetalero" oil in canvas 21 x 17
© Minerva González-Suvídad 3. "Espíritu Cafetalero" oil in canvas 21 x 17

I Speak for Us

I speak the language of abused women.
It sounds like screams in a nightmare.
I speak the language of abused women.
The words haul a ton of bricks around
Without the possibility of ever resting.
I speak the language of abused women,
Feeling that there is no relief on the way.
I speak the language of abused women.
Its lifelong pain echoes
Throughout the struggle to rebuild lives.
I speak the language of abused women,
Because there are daily reminders all around
Of how laws fail to defend them.
I speak the language of abused women,
Since they don’t need the political feel-good talk
From opportunists who pretend to know
What it feels like to have one’s face
Constantly punched by a coward’s fists.
I speak the language of abused women
Because justice for battered women
Comes in small, slow doses,
The way an IV drips fluid into veins.
I speak the language of abused women,
For millions of victims who need help.
I speak the language of abused women,
Even though there seems to be no help in sight
I speak the language of abused women
Until the day that everyone cares.
I speak the language of abused women
Until the day that humanity takes a stand.

  Edna Garcia__