Friday, April 4, 2014

a poem by erika l. sánchez

Hija de La Chingada


The men whistle from their trucks

though you’re only 13 and your breasts

are still tucked

meekly inside you.

Every day after school, the factory men yell


make noises like sucking


Technically, you could be a little mother–

But what do you know of sex?

You with the flapping

T-shirts and glasses the size of platters.


One evening you come home

an hour late

and your mother calls you

hija de la chingada.

Te pregunta ¿en donde estas

abriendo las patas?

What boy have you been fucking?

Your ghost-father

sits on the couch cracking peanuts

watching a Mexican gameshow– bugles and maracas,

and big-titted women dancing

with a geriatric host.


Finally, when your plump little body

wants what it wants,

when you are bent in the arc

of desire,

you take a man

inside your mouth

like beautiful gulps of summer,

until the shame clicks

its way towards you

like an ancient bug.

How many times will the rapid pumps

leave you heaving

in the bathroom?


When your mother finds a condom in your pocket,

she slaps your mouth with the intention

of breaking your teeth.

She tells you this.

Birth control? Aspirina, she says.

You put the aspirin between your knees

and hold it tight.


Now you say you’re a grown-ass woman

who can fuck her way across the world,

if she wants.

But when you wrap your legs around your man,

when he yanks your hair

the way you like,

you still ask him to pretend

as if you hold a beautiful rapture

between your legs.

You still ask him to pretend

as if you’re human.

"Hija de La Chingada" first appeared in Ostrich Review

Erika L. Sánchez is a Fulbright Scholar, CantoMundo Fellow, and winner of the “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Pleiades, Witness, Anti-, Hunger Mountain, Crab Orchard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Copper Nickel, Boston Review, Latino USA on NPR, and is forthcoming in Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Penguin 2015). Her nonfiction has been published in The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Rolling Stone, Salon, NBC News, Cosmopolitan, and many others. You can find her at

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