Katherine Hoerth

La Pulga Beauties

I lay here with my sisters, naked skin to naked skin-we’re on display
this Saturday at La Pulga, feeling the eyes of the hungry

sliding across our yellowing shine. They search me for bruise
and blemish, fingertips asking if the hands that bloomed me were rough,

or if I fell too soon and grew bitter inside. Fingers long to unbutton, to slit
open the rind, to touch. But until they reach into their pockets, pull out

the last of their coins, these hands can only imagine the hues:
Yellow—she’s been picked too soon. Too pink and she’s already bitter.

The red flesh tastes the sweetest. But they won’t know

until I’m opened up, my pith peeled away – tossed to the floor,
and the bare center of this Rio Red toronja blushes in the sunlight.

Katherine Hoerth is the author of Among the Mariposas (Mouthfeel Press, 2010), a chapbook of poems. She is the recipient of the Nuestra Voz Prize for border women poets, and her work has appeared in various literary magazines, including Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and Cold Mountain Review. Katherine is an MFA student at the University of Texas Pan American, and she will be graduating in May 2011. She lives in Edinburg—way on the southern tip of Texas, but you can easily visit her online at http://www.katiehoerth.blogspot.com.

“I live out in the boonies, so strange things tend to end up on my front porch. Geckos, big ugly opossums, stray cats, hairy spiders, and just about every type of flying insect you can imagine have all made appearances. Living in rural Texas, one learns not to be afraid of creatures, so I normally just lift a slightly amused eyebrow and go about my business. One night, however, while carrying a load of grocery bags, I noticed a slithering among my Lantana flowers and wild chile plants. I stared at it for a moment, fumbling for my house keys. I must have done something to spook this uninvited guest, because a snake (black with yellow and copper colored rings) lunged out, his mouth open and ready to strike. I screeched, swinging my HEB bag in his general direction. He slithered off into a hole in my house, near the front door. I never did know if he was the ‘friend of jack’ type of snake, or the ‘kill a fellow’ type. I'm hoping for the former, as I doubt my cats are very competent snake hunters.”


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