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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, November 9, 2015.
About this Poem 

“I’m having a hard time writing poems that surprise and challenge me in the wake of my first book. Most of my drafts read like rehashed older work. I’m waiting for a snippet of language or an image to lead me into new terrain. I know it will happen. I have to be patient. ‘Ceremonial’ is one of the few poems that have escaped my notebooks. It’s a poem that unsettles me. I often wish I’d never written it. The hurt that triggered the language still pulses inside me.”
Eduardo C. Corral

Ceremonial

                         Delirious,
touch-starved,
             I pinch a mole
                          on my skin, pull it
off, like a bead—
             I pinch & pull until
                          I am holding
a black rosary. Prayer
             will not cool
                          my fever.
Prayer will not
             melt my belly fat,
                         will not thin
my thighs.

                         A copper-
faced man once
             called me beautiful.
                         Stupid,
stupid man.
             I am obese. I am
                         worthless.
I can still feel
             his thumb—
                          warm,
burled—moving
             in my mouth.
                          His thumbnail
a flake

                          of sugar
he would not
             allow me to swallow.
                          Desperate
for the sting of snow
             on my skin,
                          rosary
tight in my fist,
              I walk into
                          a closet, crawl
into a wedding dress.
                         Oh Lord,
here I am.

Copyright © 2015 by Eduardo C. Corral. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 9, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Eduardo C. Corral. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 9, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Eduardo C. Corral

Eduardo C. Corral

Eduardo C. Corral is the author of Slow Lightning (Yale University Press, 2012), which was chosen by Carl Phillips as the 2011 winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

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