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Quiñones's poem "Ode to Desire" was originally published in The Southeast Review 35.2.


Ode to Desire

Oh perfect engine

you craft me into

my most

terrible self

with two mouths two

furious gazes

you break the spines of

my favorite books

& cover

my body with their



I prefer your lights

dim like a rolling

black wave

I promise to hold

my knees

to my chest

when it suits you

please bruise my neck

& make it the color

of strange


you who are

the written thing

rather than

its writer

you only open

your eyes when I’m slick-

skinned & salt-


so on those nights

I need you to

make me into

whatever version

you like


& sink it


Photo: Dennie Eagleson

Paige Quiñones is a PhD candidate in poetry at the University of Houston, where she serves as the Managing Editor of Gulf Coast. She received her MFA from the Ohio State University. Her work has twice been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street Review, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, Poetry Northwest, Quarterly West, and elsewhere.

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