Sometimes I see myself in the mirror and am startled by how young I still am—my always dying, for a moment, undone.
Sometimes I hold myself and think, Of course, my happy body. Others: the memory of wild snakes coiled at the back door like ropes,
listless and abandoned after my father turned them inside out for their skins. At the beach, perfectly carved from the warm cave of a mammal,
a washed-up stomach and all its accoutrements—meticulous intestine, bright liver bisected like a penetrated sex, the silverskin curtain that holds them together—
all of it taut with flies. It must have been done by man, a friend observed. How else could it have arrived at us so intact, clean even, without
the texture of force? I almost admitted then that I am sometimes repulsed by sex, that the occasion of possibility often requires a surgical finesse.
Last week, in a restaurant I can’t afford, a man 22 years my senior pressed his foot into mine and asked if he would ever appear in one of my poems.
Maybe, I receded, forking our plated octopus, wondering which suffered the greater fate: the dead weight cast into the water
or the thing hung from a hook, cut open and gleaming with lightness.
Joshua Garcia’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Arts & Letters, The Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, The Shore, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the College of Charleston and is a 2021-22 Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University.