Paige Quiñones received her MFA in poetry from the Ohio State University. In August 2017 she will begin her PhD studies at the University of Houston. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, Muzzle Magazine, Quarterly West, Southeast Review, Winter Tangerine Review, and elsewhere. Her poem “Summer, or Daughters I Haven’t Met” was a finalist for Best of the Net 2015. You can find her online at https://twitter.com/
Dueña del Bosque
You think you can return to that place
ppppwhere your feral tía
ppppclimbed down from the mountain,
where roads bend without reason,
ppppblanketed in feathers.
ppppBut that place is now overgrown
with a jungle’s blue-green fingers.
ppppA girl once hunted there,
ppppher urchin-dark eyes searching.
Rats have taken her place.
ppppA wild dog once leapt against a spiked fence
ppppto steal a yellow bird from your hands.
A man once told you
ppppthe species you see are not endemic
ppppand so your ancestors never knew them,
never thatched their roofs
ppppwith that kind of plant.
ppppBut your tía still believes
in their magic: she is tall
ppppbecause the blood heaving inside her is violent.
ppppYour grandmother, whenever she held me,
ella sabía que yo era una diabla.
ppppYou are small because you are meek.
ppppShe knows you shrink
from a man’s spitting mouth
ppppbecause you fear the animal
ppppyou can become at will.
We watched a woman in white
cast flowers into the sea
one by one,
tearing each away from its stem
as if it had wronged her.
I imagined her the blowfish
I saw ashore as a child,
as a fisherman tossed it to my feet.
We tried to guess her prayer,
white petals pooling
around her ankles like bones
Our cheeks touched as we waited
for sunset. There was none.
We were unlucky:
the sky dull gunmetal.
You hadn’t shaved.
I felt sorry for believing her
Your hand was a fogged mirror
searching between my thighs.
I would like to fuck you on a pew.
I would like to fuck you in an echoing gallery.
I would like to lick your pussy at the end
of this pier. In the salt.
No one would see us against the sea.
And if I had let you—
if we’d taken off our shoes, if I had exposed my skin
to those drenched planks,
if we’d climbed out to the edge of the world,
if I’d opened my body to your mouth—
I would have had to scrawl my name onto
a petal and beg
that woman to bury it so far down
the sea could never reach in.