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Surrogate eater - Jen Yáñez-Alaniz

… how I long for our days of running

watching the length of your sinewy strides

stretch wide and fast along the asphalt

mine yearned to mimic your body

the fat it refused so naturally

your hips and thighs thin and lithe

the rhythm of our deep breaths synchronized

like flickers of fire in our chests

we were glittered glaring candles

holy virgins lit on the sills

at our mother’s windows

you sat so close to me after

hallowed bones

legs brown and gleaming

thighs pressed tightly against mine

your hot skin meant as an offering of comfort

familiar and moist

burning between us

we lifted our t-shirts and laughed at skin

pulled taut over muscle

I filled myself with water

meant to stave off hunger

but how I loved the stretch of your mouth wide-open

around that melting mound of ice cream I refused to eat

your breath heavy with sweetness devouring

nose to nose you watched the lust in my eyes

invited my lips to press

tongue to lap the taste of sugar

lingering on yours

I so high from the running

and so familiar

my body’s

ripping hunger

Today I spoke to my sister

after ten years of being estranged

deep sting in the liquid of the ear

songless and shriveled bird caught behind the teeth

willing burden of cracked linoleum

pressed into bare knees

small body virginal and divine

draped Mary of Denim Overalls

unicorn t-shirt and ribbons pink

strangle the hair

crank of broken toy buzzes to perform

to play that music in my dreams

mist of iridescence arc’ed

over new and forbidden things

the butterflies

a delicate psalm

on our knees

a tiny palm

cupped at my ear

her hushed voice




Jen Yáñez-Alaniz is a Texas-based Chicana poet activist. She is the co-creator of Loving, Grieving, & Surviving /Chicanas Read the Poetry of Healing and co-founder of Welcome: A Poetry Declaration, San Antonio, Texas’ city-wide event presented on World Refugee Day. Her work, Matrilineal Poetics: Toward an Understanding of Corporeality and Identity is featured in Latinas in Hollywood Herstories, and her latest and forthcoming publications are included in The Journal of Latina Critical Feminism, Cutthroat: Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century, Rogue Agent Journal, the Mom Egg Review, I Sing: The Body, and more.She is working on a poetry collection exploring the repressive denigration of racial, sexual, and personal value in patriarchal religion and society. Based on her perceptions, her poetry utilizes the metaphors, imagery, and symbols of traditional Catholicism and especially reveals hidden oppression and damaging effects of marianismo attitudes commonly passed down through familismo tradition and ideology.



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