Silva Bonilla

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Silvia Bonilla lives in New York where she works as a translator. Her work has appeared in 12th Street, Leveler Poetry, Fat City Review, White Ash Magazine, among others. She has received scholarships from Slice, Vermont Studio and Tupelo Press. 

The Four Eves

In the morning, women flock
            to the sound of opening
There is salt and blood in the breathing
            holes of fish, and a bubble—
                        a word caught in the last breath
                                    before death.
All signs spell
fresh at the market.
            The Eves come early everyday from el barrio.
                        Irene wants the heads of fish for broth
                                    and loose wings for a stew.
Matilde inhales the rusty smell
            of pig’s blood and watches
                        the still protected heart under the knife.
                                    She shifts her eyes to the sunflower stand,
quick, make it quick.
She once wounded her own heart
and that pig’s! 

Eves walk the dark corners of La Plaza,
            stand after stand filled with the worlds
                                    maja powder from Spain
                                    and kohl they burn the tips of
                                    to make dark.
They hold their purses to their armpits
            except for Sonia, who keeps her monedero
                        in her bra and tobacco on her lips.
She pokes the animals as if to wake them up,
            closes the tuna’s eyes—
they’re too revealing of his suffering—,
                        kisses the boar’s feet, your excellence!, and bows.
                                    On freshness,
                                                only the skin can testify.          

They stroll and dream of the inexhaustible lives
                        playing on Irene’s T.V. set.
                                    Bleaching cream gets pulled from the shelf.
Emilia holds it to her face and her coarse laugh
            is wind with danger in it.
Someone sprays perfume and the mist swirls
            inside the cone of light
                        coming from the holes in the roof. 

Emilia moves on to the hens
            and twists the head of the one she likes.
                        She fingers the insides, looking for eggs,
                                    until she finds the yolks in their sacs,
                                                and laughs hard. 

At night, the emptiness of the old world.       
            Men resting on cherry beds, unaware
                        that the world is coming in silvery thrills from Irene’s house.
                        Eves have each other and some wishes,
                                    coming out of a long recline,
                                                in blue eye shadow.
                                                            Curiosity exchanging acrobatic glances
                                                                        with these women.

Each night, they fold their eyelashes up
            and rub romero oil on their brows to keep them dark.
                        They wish for disturbances,
                                    but even the dust settles the same way in their houses,                                                                                              
                                                            like the flakes of skin on their beds. 

Matilde watches her husband’s fingers,
            peeled by the concrete,
                        knowing the impression of them
                                    across her face.
                                    Once her girl is asleep, she sits outside in her thick skin
                                                and tries to solve the mathematical nuances of her life,
                                                            her insides like a swollen rope.
She falls asleep, all her dreams intact.

Sonia eats her late-night snack of bread and coca cola,
            her kitchen dark, but for the candle.
                        San Gabriel’s light hits all of the walls,
                                    replicating the rhythmic stretches of her arms.
The Eves are learning a new history
            and the bible can’t compete, for lack of proof.



She doesn’t want to brag
about real love
but she married at the country jail
in a blue shirt-dress she borrowed
from a friend.
What he promised her, only she knows,
but she was always after it.
One Saturday a month
A bus takes her for a weekend of marital bliss.
A black suitcase with lace
and his cravings of green plantains.
She loves his built up body
and the kiwi tone of his eyes.
His breath is sacred
wind and all other clichés.
This was art: to follow him
as he broke up the law,
until he was stopped by a bullet.
They have nothing left but the ordinary:
a beer, a cigarette shared.
He explains the future to her.


©The Acentos Review 2017