Paige Quiñones

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 JukedMuzzle MagazineQuarterly WestSoutheast ReviewWinter 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/PaigeQuinoneszs.

 

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.

 

 

Venice Beach

 

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,

smiling even

as a fisherman tossed it to my feet.

 

We tried to guess her prayer,

white petals pooling

around her ankles like bones

anyway.

 

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

a vagrant.

 

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.

 

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