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Gila River Review
Joni Cox


Light, sentimental strums ride waves

And tumble forth, brushing

Up against my ears,

Teasing, kissing


Your fingers pull away

On those tight strings,

They dance,

Like a belly dancers body, they arch,

Shimmy, play,

The strings; their stage…


I want to dance too.


A hard pluck, followed with

The moan of poorly tuned strings

Slams against your melody


I stare up, confused, frustrated,

Ashamed that I cannot

Keep up.

Your thin fingers continue their routine,

Not at all put off by my intruding

Lack of talent.


I wait patiently

For your next wave to come,

So that I may once again try to catch

It and ride along with you


Another failed attempt, another splash of sharp,

painful seawater to my face.


You’re riding off again,

Leaving us in isolation.

It can only last if I match your

Perfect melody with one of my own



Where it’s warm, fulfilling,

Where the people are always laughing.


I hear your apology,

Mingled in with your melody

Your desire to come back home

And teach me more, overruled

By your troubles


I know I’m not at all good,

And my music reeks of desperation

And immaturity

But stay afloat with us


You are pruned and ready for the shore,

As am I.

Come along.


Another pluck

And one last strum whispers goodbye,

Seeming to smile sadly against my skin.

Down, down, down you go.

Swallowed by the dangers of the sea,

Drowning in your addiction


I stay ashore,

And continue to pluck,

Forever waiting for your tide to come.

Grandma Rosie

My grandma never did run

Away from anything.


Satan himself could light

Our house like a fireplace

And she’d be hurdling down

Those shaky porch steps, swatting

At him with a spatula.


She handled that cooking stick

Like she was one of the

Three musketeers. And

I bet you my hat and best Sunday

Clothes that the Devil would be a running

With his pointed tail between his legs.


She don’t look like much.

An earthen, weathered

Face, as if someone had molded

Her together in pottery class.

A pea-green frock, lying beneath

her brown tucker, that always held

A cooking stick, a worn out,

maroon hanky and an old

pack of playing cards.


Ever since I can remember,

She been baking that same old

Cornbread. Moist, delicious, dripping

Honey along the curves of your

Sore, bleeding fingertips after

A long day out in the orchards.


And sometimes, after the sun grown weary

Of this world,

I watch her pull off that old brown tucker,

Along with her duties to this ancient, busted up,

Creaky house.


Her face don’t betray her emptiness,

Or stressed out soul.

But the faded, black lining of an old

Bruise named Tiger Lily

Sure do.


A shaded tiger, peaking out

From her old dress, reminding

Us all that nobody’s perfect and

Everybody makes mistakes.


And I’m sure that the pride

So meanly raped away from her,

Reminds her of the same thing.


Late nights, grubby old hands,

Feeling of hot, desperate breath

and the taste of cigarette smoke

Forever branded in her


Joni Cox is a sixteen-year-old entering her sophomore year at CGCC. Her favorite things in life consist of cats, celebrity gossip and the click of a keyboard as she forms stories out of incoherent thoughts. Writing is her constant companion and will always, without fail pull her out of any bad space she finds herself in.



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2626 East Pecos Road, Chandler, Arizona 85225-2499
Phone: 480.732.7000 Fax: 480.732.7090

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