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Ostrich 4

Hija de La Chingada



The men whistle from their trucks

though you’re only 13 and your breasts


are still tucked

meekly inside you.


Every day after school, the factory men yell



make noises like sucking



Technically, you could be a little mother–


But what do you know of sex?

You with the flapping


T-shirts and glasses the size of platters.




One evening you come home

an hour late


and your mother calls you


hija de la chingada.


Te pregunta ¿en donde estas

abriendo las patas?


What boy have you been fucking?


Your ghost-father

sits on the couch cracking peanuts


watching a Mexican gameshow– bugles and maracas,


and big-titted women dancing

with a geriatric host.




Finally, when your plump little body

wants what it wants,


when you are bent in the arc

of desire,


you take a man

inside your mouth


like beautiful gulps of summer,


until the shame clicks


its way towards you

like an ancient bug.


How many times will the rapid pumps

leave you heaving


in the bathroom?




When your mother finds a condom in your pocket,

she slaps your mouth with the intention


of breaking your teeth.


She tells you this.


Birth control? Aspirina, she says.

You put the aspirin between your knees

and hold it tight.




Now you say you’re a grown-ass woman

who can fuck her way across the world,

if she wants.


But when you wrap your legs around your man,

when he yanks your hair

the way you like,


you still ask him to pretend

as if you hold a beautiful rapture


between your legs.


You still ask him to pretend

as if you’re human.

Erika L. Sánchez

Erika L. Sánchez is a poet, writer, and editor living in Chicago. She is a Fulbright Scholar, CantoMundo Fellow, and winner of the 2013 “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize. Her nonfiction has appeared in Cosmopolitan for Latinas, The Guardian, NBC Latino, Al Jazeera, Truthout, and Salon. Her poetry has appeared in Pleiades, Witness, Anti-, Hunger Mountain, Crab Orchard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and others. For more on Erika: http://erikalsanchez.com/