Two Poems

Diannely Antigua

AFTER READING SHARON OLDS
 

I decide to write more poems

about my father’s dick. I’ve seen it before

 

birth, the pupil of my mother’s eye a part of mine then.

We must have stared at it, erect with purpose, plunging

 

its thickness into the air, our open legs ready to receive

the unfaithful gift. I want to tell my father

 

I lost my virginity to a man

with his name, let the whole of his letters enter me,

 

maybe they were already there, entering my mother

again, from the pointed V to the rounded r at its tip.

 

I want to tell him about that summer—the backseat of the Volvo,

how I’d hoped for a bed, hoped for a kindness, thought

 

the car was a crib, arms reaching to be held,

then remembered his joke, said he’d put my infant body

 

in the oven, if I didn’t stop crying, I wanted to stop

crying then too, riding

 

the roughness of something I didn’t want,

how he said así así, looked at me with a face between violence

 

and joy. I imagined

their dicks—the father’s, the fucker’s—

 

the color of wet sand beginning to dry, the swell

of Spanish with each thrust, releasing the same white

 

we accepted or let spill on leather seats, let

crust, the yolk left on a plate no one wanted to claim.

 

I won’t call them papi, the men that enter and exit with a wave

of cologne. Their smell—taxi cabs after

 

groceries, merengue in July, at the bodega

the cashier calling morena, morena,

 

the moan on his lips.

 

 

 

 

WHEN I TRY TO EXPLAIN MENTAL ILLNESS

 

It’s like the smell of your own shit,

you sit in the stench because it’s yours. Someone

 

told you it was all in your head, and you

sat in a hospital bed throwing up charcoal

 

because you took too much of something

with your name on it. Sometimes you grow

 

allergic to the morning and how it greets you

with painful welcome, a smile from

 

a lover who’d found someone new.

What was the word he called you? Dissociative or

 

maybe too aware of connections, when you tasted

strawberries again after a year without them

 

and you thought the seeds on your tongue were

a rough chin you’d said no to

 

a decade before. Someone said daddy issues

and you said fuck you but wrote it down

 

anyway. It’s trying to smooth out a wrinkle

on linen, you make more wrinkles. It’s

 

hearing the creak of your door open at night,

your mother coming to check the 10

 

toes, 10 fingers on your adult body. You

close your eyes and give her the comfort of numbers.

 

There are also numbers on little bottles, and

you swallow, swallow, swallow what’s inside. Open your

 

mouth, they say and it’s a vanishing

they can appreciate. It’s not beautiful, but

 

it’s beautiful, you want to tell them. Listen

to the way my heart beats three times too fast,

 

the white and brown flame of

a deer’s tail, disappearing into the trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 About the Writer
Split Lip Magazine

Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet and educator, born and raised in Massachusetts. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts Lowell where she won the Jack Kerouac Creative Writing Scholarship. She is currently an MFA candidate at New York University and an Associate Poetry Editor for BOAAT. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Day One, Vinyl, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.