There’s nothing funnier than a penis hidden in grass other than the police officer who wouldn’t touch it because he was so religious. We’ve spent decades laughing, & surely, that must be enough. Laughter—a series of turning away & turning away. But I’m still waiting for the moment when that delight is dismembered, assassinated, put on trial, sent death threats, told to shut the fuck up. Runs for political office & loses. Thrown out of a car window & drained of its blood. The ghost of us waits there, in that apartment in Manassas, in that bedroom in Victoria, Texas, on that street going South out of town where you swore you’d end the world of me in favor of proving yourself to the universe. The most urgent artifact in this museum, the penis—how men were so scared their wives would do it, slept with one eye open, while women daydreamed about wringing cruelty from its source. It was the ‘90s. Men asked if this was feminism. Women hid their faces behind their hands.
Iliana Rocha is the 2019 winner of the Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry for her newest collection, The Many Deaths of Inocencio Rodriguez, forthcoming from Tupelo Press. Karankawa, her debut, won the 2014 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). The recipient of a 2019 MacDowell Colony fellowship, she has had work featured in the Best New Poets 2014anthology, as well as The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, Latin American Literature Today, RHINO, Blackbird, and West Branch, among others, and she serves as contributing editor for Waxwing Literary Journal. She earned her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and is Graduate Director of Creative Writing at the University of Central Oklahoma and lives with her three chihuahuas Nilla, Beans, and Migo.