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After the salt feast, I watched a bird peck at another bird who was already dead.
What I know best is the color of sun through my own eyelids.
And like those jubilant saplings, I am always so breathless and ignorant.
I once fucked a man who was unspeakably ugly, and it wasn’t even winter.
What I mean is that I bludgeoned the palm fronds to keep from sobbing.
What I mean is that I lit a kite on fire and didn’t say I was sorry.
The gaze of the deer was nothing if not victorious.
I once loved a man who was married to a martyr.
No, he was married to a goat. No, he was married to ladder. What’s the difference?
I cried on a toilet in the middle of New York City. Four times in one day. I counted. I
That time I was stunned by my own pudendum. The smell.
Then I became ashamed of my shame, et cetera, infinity until the end of time itself.
The vulgarity of the orchid in all of its hooded glory is showy but exquisite.
The first time I ever came the light was weak and carnivorous.
I covered my eyes and the night cleared its dumb throat.
I heard my mother wringing her hands the next morning.
Of course I put my underwear on backwards. Of course the elastic didn’t work.
What I wanted most at that moment was a sandwich.
But I nursed on this leather whip as the sheets were splattered with my sadness.
Erika L. Sánchez is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection, Lessons on Expulsion (Graywolf 2017), and the young adult novel, Brown Girl Problems (Knopf 2017). She has received a CantoMundo Fellowship, a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, and a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship.
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