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Teresa the Idiot

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In reality my loves
are the strange box of a Polish doll
The blonde’s eyes appearing
fixed to her hips long after midnight
the garret always singular to loosen
a massive mane
across her back, its strands
thick and fine draping
her otter-like chin
Deliberately she’d peer out from the wall
and nothing could be seen but the shadow of  her breasts
hidden beneath marmots of  hair
And lovely was her skin’s radiance
at that unusual hour
Her waist’s digressions
easily discerned
as bees through grass
the window neither open nor closed
What I saw, yellow like crystal,
rose from sleepy thighs
amassed in unseemly tourniquets
Everything before me, a pale shimmer
of  hairs fanning delicately
to reveal the pink or green skin I no longer know
of  hips a million centimeters
from my gaze.

Source: Poetry (May 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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Teresa the Idiot

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  • Poet and multidisciplinary artist Cecilia Vicuña was born and raised in Chile. In her poems, she engages themes of language and memory, with particular attention to decay and exile. As art historian Roberto Tejada observed, “Vicuña's work, at its very essence, is 'a way of remembering'—as if exile and recall joined to unravel an 'autobiography in debris' as one personal story within a larger narrative.”
     
    Vicuña is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, including Instan (2002), Cloud-Net (1999), Unravelling Words & the Weaving of Water (1992, translated by Eliot Weinberger and Suzanne Jill Levine), Precario/Precarious (l983), and SABORAMI (l973, reissued with an afterword by the author in 2011). She is the editor of The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology (2009, coedited with Ernesto Livon Grosman) and Ül: Four Mapuche Poets: An Anthology (1998, translated by John Bierhorst).
     
    Scholarly responses toVicuña’s work include Spit...

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