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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, April 27, 2018.
About this Poem 

“This poem comes from anger and how one can use it to cultivate resistance. As I continued to revise, I realized that I was also writing about the #MeToo movement, what it means to be a woman in this culture. How do we cope with the violence we inherit?”
—Erika L. Sánchez

All of Us

Every day I am born like this—
No chingues. Nothing happens
for the first time. Not the neon
sign that says vacant, not the men
nor the jackals who resemble them.
I take my bones inscribed by those 
who came before, and learn 
to court myself under a violence 
of stars. I prefer to become demon, 
what their eyes cannot. Half of me 
is beautiful, half of me is a promise
filled with the quietest places. 
Every day I pray like a dog
in the mirror and relish the crux 
of my hurt. We know Lilith ate
the bones of her enemies. We know 
a bitch learns to love her own ghost.

Copyright © 2018 by Erika L. Sánchez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 27, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Erika L. Sánchez. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 27, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Erika L. Sánchez

Erika L. Sánchez

Erika L. Sánchez is the author of Lessons on Expulsion (Graywolf Press, 2017).

by this poet

poem
Admit it—
you wanted the end 

with a serpentine 
greed. How to negotiate

that strangling 
mist, the fibrous
 
whisper?

To cease to exist 
and to die

are two different things entirely. 

But you knew this, 
didn't you?

Some days you knelt on coins 
in those yellow hours. 

You lit a flame

to your shadow
poem

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

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