by Marcela Huerta
Marcela Huerta is a Latinx poet based in Montreal. She is the author of Tropico, a collection of poetry and creative nonfiction published by Metatron Press in 2017. Her work has been featured in vallum, Leste, Bad Nudes, Montreal Review of Books, spy kids magazine, CV2, and Lemon Hound.
I missed the sunset looking for a job
I should have been watching the sunset and trusting that my description of the sunset would be a source of wealth because people would want to hear about the sunset
the sunset the way that I would describe it
Out there you are taking my word for it so you are not watching the sunset
You are watching your past haunt you in the present through your other senses
Ominously, everyone in the park is looking up at the sky
Nothing seems to be falling but me, and I’m all the way over here
covered in honey and misery
I’m tired of the bees out here hounding my personal space
I don't want to open my mouth too wide for you and swallow one
The last thing I need right now is to end up in the emergency room
The next day on a walk I get to hear from you:
You drop from a tree and sidle into my palm at a guarded pace. You're the size and consistency of a fortune telling paper fish. I promise myself I will care for you even though I'm trying not to do that sort of thing anymore. But soon you are the size of a small cat and you keep running into the hall. All alone, I unlock the door and hope you’ll come back changed.
When you do and you are, I crack an egg against your skin and peck it lightly, so as to say
I understand that this is delicate.
What did you bring me? A leather collar and a painted wooden toy
I put the collar on my lamp as a joke but inside I feel a bit shy
I'm too young for a wooden toy but the way it looks at me
makes me feel absolved of the past
and I am grateful
What will we do to celebrate?
A cork pops and I think of you inside me.
The gratuity of the thought is what makes it worth thinking.
We drink the foam off the top of the bottle
so nothing is left on the sides for us to stick to or get stung by later
I want to take you to the park and explain everything
There are new birds I’ve never heard here
I could describe the way they sound
but I don't believe I'm good enough at that
so you’d really have to see it
Or here, why don't you open your mouth and let me look
Maybe I can show you how to make the sounds with your throat
When you finally get it I can see down your insides
and I feel I understand this all a bit better
So what will we do to celebrate?
The grass is sweating under me, I wipe it all up on my knees
and look up at you so as to say
It is an instinct for me to be of service, but I'm trying to grow out of it
Now I hate to beg unless it is for forgiveness or your cock
Suddenly the sunset flicks off and I am left with moderate city darkness
where everything is still clearly visible
like your face and my hopes
and how you want to bury your face in my cunt
I feel like a mango
I want to hold you there but I'm scared I'll crack your head open like a walnut
I’ve always been the walnut
so I don't know my own strength
Life After Womanhood
I don't ever get what I want I think maybe because I can't swallow anymore. Back in the day I swallowed like crazy I was swimming in it and you know the funniest thing was how sick it made me: at J.'s house on my side like a bloated dog, toasting half a piece of bread and shoving it into my stomach to soak it all up, my eyes all blurred around the edges. J. loved the look of a girl who took it all and then had to lie down to soldier through.
Who wouldn't love that, you know?
Now everyone looks at me in a way that says that yes they know I can't swallow. It would be ok but there's so much I want now that I can't have. Still I am asked to serve, I am asked to spit it out and give it back and clean it up and do it quietly. Let me lead you right this way, sir, grinning with that fucking face of mine (the one that says yes ma'am, of course, and really means it) then later he won't see me slide out of my skin and just die. I'll do that alone I won't bother him with all that. Even later still he won't notice me crying without facial expressions in a movie playing on an airplane, the type of movie where the swears all get blocked out, like:
Tell me, was I a pity fun or a love fun?
In the movie I have a heavy accent and Matt Damon likes me in a way that involves smirking. The ha ha comes from how I'm demanding but in a way that doesn't require me to be human. He loves that way! At the end of every story, the man marries the one who does the most for the least amount of money. He asks for it all but with brightness, he doesn't even want that much if you think about it. The one he picks loves his sense of humour, too, like: it's cute when he throws his sweaty shirt in the basket and it lands on her head instead, ha ha!
Have you ever thought about how they want me to be the basket?
In early May I hold roses to commemorate the closing of my throat. It feels like everyone is staring while I choke on old times but when I finally look around me, they are all still going about their business. All those years, didn't I just want to disappear into the sound of birds, looking like no one in particular I had ever met. Now that my time has come I don't feel anything but dread. Should I prepare my back for the life of mopping ahead of me, or should I let myself shrink?