The Boiler

Paige Quiñones

I PAY THE GIRL

on my lap a twenty,
press it between her breasts.
She winks, calls me honey.
In the corner, there is a man
and there is a woman lying
on the man like a skinned rabbit.
A silken animal barely
writhing to the song. I cannot
see her face, only loose
rings of hair, a slick back,
the bright soles of her feet.
I think of his wife undressing
for bed, wondering where he is.
Or perhaps he has no wife at all
and will unlock his door
to find a darker room.
His girl presses and presses
against him with no urgency;
this man has come before,
will be here long
after I’m gone. I call over
the nearest girl, her faux fur
boots shining. I fold a dollar
into her waist, run
my hands over her breasts.
She tells me they’re real.


SUMMER, OR DAUGHTERS I HAVEN’T MET

Heaven is a river

                  filled with flat stones, girls

lining the bank,

                  skipping rocks.

As I pass each one

                  and touch her curls,

I see her future

                   unfurled

in my palm:

                   first kiss,

missing breasts,

                   whiskey breath.

Sons. Some have none.

                    They’ve all got

my June-dark skin

                    and mouths that

can’t quite close.

                    One girl catches

sight of her fate,

                    steps further

into the white water,

                    begs me to hold her under.

Please, she says.

                     I don’t want to be born.

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Paige Quiñones is currently earning her MFA from the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, and earned her BA from the University of Florida in 2013. Her poem “Blood Sport” was recently a finalist for the 2015 Indiana Review Poetry Prize. She is currently working on a manuscript that engages with her biracial heritage, female sexuality, and young marriage.