Guillotine

Eduardo C. Corral

The scorpions always arrive                at dawn. Gently,                                                their pincers        touch the cuts                                on my lips. I clutch                                                                the edgesof the mattress, stare                at the mirrored ceiling.                                                My mouth opens,            but no sound staggers out.                                    The scorpions—                                                                dark green, dank—reach in, pull out                the razor blade                                                under my tongue...Two scorpions.                A razor blade.                                                Slowly, in unison,    without letting go of the metal,                            they move.                                                            A little guillotinemaking its way                down my body.                                                I remember    dragging my thumb                                through his beard,                                                                    coppery & difficult.The scorpions                pause, tilt                                                the blade.    A threat, a reminder.                              It’s my task to stop yearning                                                             for as longas it takes them                to carry a blade                                                across my skin.        My thoughts swerve                                 from monsoon storms                                                                  to accordionsto pecan groves.                The little guillotine                                                starts moving again.        I begin to sense                                the enormity of my body.                                                                The bladehigh in the air.                For now.

Feature Date

Series

Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

Eduardo C. Corral’s second book, Guillotine, was published by Graywolf Press. He teaches in the MFA program in Creative Writing at North Carolina State University.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

“Corral nimbly bridges the personal and political, evoking themes of migration to ask what it means to be unwanted.”
The New York Times Book Review, New & Noteworthy

“No matter what his subject, Corral is a gifted storyteller, precise and dizzying with his imagery.”
The Millions

“Eduardo Corral’s ravishing new collection begins with a ceremony of touch-hunger and self-abnegation. . . . An erotics of loneliness, a deep song of exile, of indefinable yearning. At times, even the text itself blurs. It’s as if I am reading through smoke, through tears.”
—Diane Seuss

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.