Steven Cordova


Steven Cordova’s full-length collection of poetry, Long Distance, was published by Bilingual Review Press in 2010. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Bellevue Literary Review, Callaloo, The Journal and Northwest Review. He reviews fiction and nonfiction for Lambda Literary. From San Antonio, TX, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.

My mother wakes to find herself on “wheel of fortune”

My mother wakes to find herself on “Wheel of Fortune”—
a TV game show she watches more religiously
than she has ever attended mass.
“It’s your turn, Sylvia,” Pat Sajak says. “Spin.”
But my mother is 78, has never exercised
& lacks upper body strength— 

the pagan, Herculean strength
any woman needs to change her fortune,
the stroke of lightening luck necessary to exercise—
at long last—some power over religion,
over the priest who told her sins
lead to cancerous masses. 

So, on second thought, why should she attend mass
& who’d want so much strength
so late in life, her past spun
out—out of control—behind her, the tunes
she used to know forgotten, the irreligious
long list of ex- 

boyfriends who failed to exercise
anything but massive
dickheadedness?  It was religion
told her she needed their power.
And what of fortune?
Pat Sajak is getting impatient. She tries to spin. 

Her head spins.
She wishes she’d exercised.
more. She loves “Fortune”
almost as much as she fears cancerous masses.
God, if you’re up there, give her strength.
Let religion 

be a good-time religion,
one that takes her by one hand & spins
her to a position of flexibility & strength
(without a Vannah White home exercise
program). Let her build the muscle mass
necessary to change fortune. 

Strength is a kind of religion.
The fortunate go to spin class,
exercise en masse.

© The Acentos Review 2019