Monday, March 23, 2009

la cuca

They called her la cuca negra, maldita,
could be left nine times on a Sunday before church
on her back again by Monday’s dawn
breasts the size of sunrises
maldita, dresses tight like breaths
and her chest bursting out onto the unsuspecting eyelines
of unsuspecting men.

And when the first man turned her around
and said, “Linda, hermosa,”
she believed so badly that when he said
other women’s names inside of her
she would smile and pretend they were hers.
She had so many names.

She had so many ways of walking,
hips a national treasure,
talked about in history books,
quote: “Now that
was a guapa who could start
a motherfucking war,”
and yet her back was permanently
pointing towards the ground where she belonged,
never to entertain thoughts
of grandeur.

She could believe that man
six times before dusk
fuck him three times before lunch
and still have time to tell herself
she was worth something,
soft hair on her back,
bright bruises on her wrists
what was she not

Nothing, she finally said.
So she left.

Maldita, they all said,
cursed by God above because
the bitch had too much sass,
too much ass to be contained,
was so fucking curvy hourglasses
quivered in their sandboxes;
she made men jump out of cars
so hard they would later in life
stop in pharmacies and call Viagra
by her name.

And yet she never had love like
she had pain, never made love,
had sex, with a man who told her
to put her face into the pillow
so he didn’t have to hear her.

The first time a boy saw her naked and said
she was his “Violonchelo,”
she almost cried, her ears filled with
the deep music of his voice
as he said, “Mi violonchelo, my lovely cello,
te he amado por tantos años,”
white smile like a sunny day
after so much fog,
hands ghosting the hips he had touched
only in his mind.

But then even he was gone,
arms close to his chest,
tears like guns shooting down
onto the floor, such fear of wrongdoing,

La cuca negra maldita,
said by women quietly,
women with flat chests
and flat noses,
bodies like trumpets.

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