My Cell Phone Is a Genie in a Box
by Ana Garza G’z
It speaks the time when I tap an upper corner,
Which can be its forehead next to an eye, and it says, “Please
unlock,” when I slide a finger across its face
where the mouth should be, as if I had the key
to more than my front door. It says, “home,”
as if home could spill out of a fingertip. It says,
“You are near …” as if Here were the dot
that starts or ends a line on a map,
not a parking lot near an ATM that tells me I’m broke.
And she, my phone, speaks in facts,
as flat and plain as her voice–the weather in Nairobi,
the sunset in Caracas, the time in Seoul–
what only God and Google know except for the money I’ll tip
the server who doesn’t smile or make small talk
when my coffee is poured or the bargain entree is brought out.
And when I ask, “What do I do next?” the phone says,
“I’m sorry. no short answer for ‘What do I do next,'”
and when I wonder where I am
exactly, she says, “Location not found,”
and when I tell her I can’t keep this up, she asks,
“Did you mean, ‘I can’t keep this up’?”
I stop talking to her, both of us stuck
in the mechanical patter of an email form letter
that says another position has already been filled
and an online bank statement that says bargain
entrees are as necessary as pearls,
and her eventual silence brings what we dread, her shrinking
into a metal case, my dropping
a thumb against sealed glass
to push for time before slipping to the edge.
by Ana Garza G’z
I tasted it in Lisbon
in a seventeenth-century stable
turned restaurant, turned tourist
trap, before I turned thirty.
The food there was good:
croquetas, cheese, olives like Hosts
on communal platters, circles of fish, rice, vegetables
(I asked only for vegetables), and glasses
and glasses and glasses–
long stems, short
stems, wide mouths, curls,
above our spoons. “It’s good,
the port,” the proprietor stood
at my elbow, “from the fields of Oporto
beside the sea. Taste.”
And he leaned close to pour
a mouthful. “It’s sweet,”
I reached for the tiniest
wine glass, the littlest
one–the size of an orange blossom,
it to my lips,
nectar, the singing workers
of the fields sea-breeze
chilled; Oporto, syrup
over my tongue, honeyed.
And I swallowed.
And the hardness of the dirt,
the chill, the rocks (Oporto is
a stony shore), the thick-necked beer bottles
of the hands who picked
in my throat,
and I coughed.
Ana Garza G’z has an M. F. A. from California State University, Fresno. She works as an interpreter and translator. Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, most recently in Taktil and Magnolia Journal.