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In the republic of flowers I studied the secrets of hanging clothes I didn't know if it was raining or someone was frying eggs I held the skulls of words that mean nothing you left between the hour of the ox and the hour of the rat I heard the sound of two braids I watched it rain through a mirror am I asking to be spared or am I asking to be spread your body smelled like cathedrals and I kept your photo in a bottle of mezcal semen-salt wolf's teeth you should have touched my eyes until they blistered kissed the skin of my instep for thousands of years sealed honey never spoils won't crystallize I saw myself snapping a swan's neck I needed to air out my eyes the droplets on a spiderweb and the grace they held who gave me permission to be this person to drag my misfortune on this leash made of gold
"The poem began during a trip to Portugal, where I became enamored with the traditional fado music. They say saudade is untranslatable, but it's a word that feels like an old familiar cloak to me, because I've spent so much of my life ravenous for both the past and future." —Erika L. Sánchez
Erika L. Sánchez is the author of Lessons on Expulsion, forthcoming in 2017 from Graywolf Press. She is a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellow.
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