poem index


Erika L. Sánchez

Printer-friendly version
Erika L. Sánchez
Related Schools & Movements: 

Erika L. Sánchez is the author of Lessons on Expulsion (Graywolf Press, 2017). She earned an MFA from the University of New Mexico and is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a CantoMundo Fellowship, the 2013 “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize, and a 2015 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. She is the recipient of a 2019 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a Princeton Arts Fellow and lives in Plainsboro, New Jersey.

by this poet

Admit it—
you wanted the end 

with a serpentine 
greed. How to negotiate

that strangling 
mist, the fibrous

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
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

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