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.
From Guillotine. Copyright © 2020 by Eduardo C. Corral.
Used with the permission of Graywolf Press, 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.”
“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.”