Monica Garcia


Monica L. Garcia, a Chicana born and raised in Kankakee Illinois, was always given a fondness for words by her mother. Currently living in Evanston Illinois, she is a senior studying English - Creative Writing, Spanish and Latina/o Studies at Northwestern University. Her poems have been published in Helicon Literary & Arts Magazine and Polemix Magazine, Northwestern's first Latinx-centered magazine. Most of her poetry deals with transgenerational trauma, re-imagining the voices of mujeres in history, and the body as a site of struggle, but also a site of healing.

What Do You Do When The Grave Speaks Back

In the summer of 1942, José Díaz, among many other Mexican Americans, was invited to a neighborhood birthday party. By the end of the night, Díaz was found dead, his body discarded near the reservoir of the Sleepy Lagoon. His autopsy showed that he had been inebriated, and there was a fracture at the base of his skull. The actual cause of his death remains unknown.


His smile, pearlescent against lantern light, and su caló
Rolling off his tongue were floating with drink. Espérate,
Someone laughs, beer bubbling. Popping. His Pachuco
Brothers sink into each other's shoulders like rompope.
He almost forgets how his father throttled the word pocho
From his throat, cursed. Hair slicked and riding against su cabeza,
It becomes his skin; no ripped stitches. His pants weren't demasiado,
Their circumference never holding enough, and when the güera
With the other white bastards laugh, it's at themselves. El porqué
Of these moments fizzle. Needing only the glint of un huracán
In his eye, it tells him about the day after, of the qué sigue.
Henry, finger bones digging into his shoulder, says Juan,
Wait, José – slide into the lagoon for a minute cabrón!’
He brushes him off and laughs. 'Not tonight,


In the dream, they were supposed to be in love

she sits across from him, heart monitor scatting
                             in between their silence. staring at the white void
                                                   in front, behind, left & right of her, she almost forgets
                                 her taffeta dress, the peach-colored frosting
sewn into the fabric. how it sleeps on the purple & green
                          pinpricks of busted bloodflow on her thighs. he does not
                                                                                 say anything, the bags under his eyes
                                              designer. a salvatore ferragamo clip
golden, glinting under the fluorescents.
                                              a knife, pointed & prickling
                                                                        becomes the sluice in the middle. tension
                                 tangible, the "what are you supposed to do
with this?" moment that crouches in the spring air
                                      after miscarriage. her hand reaches for
                                                                                       the bed sheet, crinkling birdsong.
                                            he does not open his mouth, & her
lips part in his stead. her throat does not move,
                                    but the sound, the friction of vocal chords,
                                                                     carries static: "at least now we're celebrating
                                         our euthaversary. I don't know if our
marriage was still a party four years ago,
                                       or if – " the rest of the sentence hangs
                                                                                               on the edge of the monitor,
                                                             the dripping of





How Far the Roots Stretch

I am eleven years old, on the cusp of communion
when I open the yawning metal door
and walk into the courtyard behind my Abuelita’s home,
re-memorizing the hanging ropes playing clothing lines,
the cracked stone ground, and the malformed brick room to the right of me
with the single light bulb dangling from the ceiling. I can almost see Abuelito,
crouching on the worn down tree stump, chiseling leather
into magic, weaving straps into sandals for sale.
In the middle of this handmade cloister is the lime tree, outlined by dilapidated rocks –
lacking in leaves, but rich in so much sour fruit that they fall like rain
and ripple onto the stones. I notice from the branches hang
a pig, pink and long as I am tall. He writhes, the harsh rope searing
into his hind legs with each jerking motion. My eyes meet his. 
I am afraid of what he wouldn’t do to get out of that snare.
From behind me, my mother’s hand wrenches me back,
past tree stumps, light bulbs, and clotheslines.
Slams the rusting door.
You shouldn’t be in there, she says.
I hear the pig crying from the lime tree. 

Later on, in my Abuelita’s garage, my mother offers me
a styrofoam plate with tacos made out of the pig she says.
I can’t eat that, I sob, pushing the plate back to her. I remember the fear –
of eating something hanging
from death is not holy, not what Abuelita prays for on her rosary beads.
My mother offers it again. It’s already dead, it’s good.
Through tears and the gazes from uncles, cousins, and friends of family
I take a bite.
It’s good, I tell her. The sob caught inside my throat mixes with the pig.
When I go back into the courtyard, red stains hover
over soil and stones. I wonder whether the lime tree
saw, and if it will remember.



© The Acentos Review 2018