Only just under a year of publication, Bodega seems to be in its element. This issue is cohesive; it works together, and not because of a theme or genre. Bodega pieces capture vivid imagery, placing words and phrases next to each other in surprising and delightful ways. Such as “we adopted the ferns / as our pets and spent long hours brushing their hair” (Sarah Burgoyne’s “Autobiography”), and, “When the floral bouquets are passed from a beautiful woman / and the ribbon is cut, one aquarium opens and another is drained.” (Jake Levine’s “Kim Jong Un Looking at Things”). Read both of these poems; they are seriously good.
In the sole fiction piece, “Registration” by Shannon Rogers, the narrator, a counselor at a day camp, is torn because she is too busy actually watching and paying attention to the kids to really register all of the post-it note reminders about them. But in an unfortunate turn of events, the post-it notes should have been read. In the case of Maddie: “No Dad pick-up, Call the police.”
Russ Wood’s poem “This morning looked like a barrel” continues:
of light going over a waterfall
that froze halfway down,
like the boy that got stuck on
top of the ferris wheel & filled
his mouth with clouds.
When he got down birds flew
straight through him.
And while these interesting images stuck with me, the ending hits more to the heart, and instead, that sticks with you harder.
The issue ends with an interview with Francisco Goldman, author of a memoir about his grief when his young Mexican wife died in a tragic bodysurfing incident. The interview discusses how the Mexican culture accepts the book in a different way, and how Goldman wrote the piece not to tell a lesson-learned but to show the raw emotion of what he went through: “What’s been really incredible, so far, is the press in Spain and the press in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, they really write about it as a piece of writing. They’re not obsessed with Is this true? Or is this not true? . . . They write about it as a piece of writing.”
Bodega is on the same publishing schedule as me (first Monday of the month), so there’ll be a new issue by the time this review comes out. But go check out Issue 12 (one year!) while you’re at it, I’m sure it’s just as good as this one.