after “The Price of Sex”

Was I ever a woman ?
Have I ever lived by my own light ?
Whose heart was it, this tulip
out of its cup of blood,
cheated by its own thirst ?

There is a star, to the southeast,
so glorious it makes me faint.
It is rosy and pulsing
like an image of my young body.
Unlike me, it disquiets the dark.

I’ve been there once, under its wink,
with an age and a name,
but no memories, except of parting.
No one told me what changed my country
into a dead zone. Money was gone,
streets unrecognizable,
cafés full of life, closed.

Only the weather felt like being kissed,
and the morning looked like a shining fruit
when hope took me, then sold me,
it’s a truth of youth.
Hope. Nothing else,
transplanted me.

I remember the first room,
my legs stretched out, uprooted,
men used to come unconcerned.
Years shed their skins like snakes
exposing the same cold shame.
For whom should I paint my lips red now ?
Now I’m blacker than night
daughters of Jerusalem,
too dark for you all.

Tell the boys, tell them,
I wish one of them was the first,
to have someone to think of,
or the second, to die of desire,
but not the third, who is just there,
and can’t hurt anymore
because what difference does it make ?

Tell them that when birds
rise and fly in the clear air
I want to kiss the ground.
I wish only a different sky
could remember me.
Days, hours, pass
without news from life.
Sex, work.
Sex, work.

Just pictures of my youth
fading on the hard earth
and washed by the rain.