Hunger Mountain - Vermont College Journal of the arts
SEARCH THE SITE:  

Orchid

by Erika L. Sánchez

Woman’s destiny is to be wanton, like the bitch,
the she-wolf; she must belong to all who claim her.
— Marquis de Sade

In Cicero the white prostitutes
in front of the Cove Motel lean into cars—
knotted hair, limp breasts
jiggling underneath tattered t-shirts.

We are seven when we watch from our steps,
sucking on tamarind candy, confused.
Aren’t blonde women supposed to be beautiful?
Then I am 22 in Musee d’Orsay and finally

standing in front of Manet’s Olympia. Her square face
and taut body, stiff hand over her sex. A woman
who can slight the black servant, snub the flowers.
She waits for a milk-faced man who will suck her

open like an oyster, make feverish love to her, crumple
the orchid behind her ear. Next, red light
district, Amsterdam: women in glass boxes:
backs impossibly arched, full breasts

spilling out of shiny lingerie. I wonder
how the old ones with missing teeth
compete with them. Behind
a cracked door, a woman rinses

her mouth and spits into a sink.
On Calle Montera, Madrid, the center of the city
near the exact center of the country—women
from Africa, Latin America, and dissolved

Eastern European countries are in front of McDonald’s,
pulling on sleeves and listing prices. A teenage boy wants
to know if they offer student discounts. A graying man
approaches a black transvestite with golden hair, asks,

how much to have sex with a dog?
In Bilbao I watch a news exposé in a fusty hostel
we’ve named Kafka. A Russian woman
named Katya has been sold in Istanbul for $1,000,

then forced to live in a brothel where men insert
bizarre objects, perform acts from Marquis de Sade
pencil sketches. Katya cries and her tears slice
through thick slabs of orange makeup.

My boyfriend lives next to a motel now,
in the urban blight of a desert city,
and after lunch today, a woman in gray sweats
walks past his house towards a mammoth SUV.

She walks slowly, as if splintered, as if
something is already inside her.


Read Las Pulgas by Erika L. Sánchez.

To visit with Erika L. Sánchez, click here.

To read more poetry, click here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Edgar Villeda June 9, 2010 at 3:19 pm

I forgot about the images of the Red Light District! Your words bring my memories of that surreal place to the surface. In fact, it’s strange to know, firsthand, many of the things that you describe. I get the benefit of knowing what’s behind that curtain :P

Reply

Leave a Comment

All comments are moderated.
Yours will show up soon, we promise.