The soft machine is my body, said Sonia, it gives pleasure to men. I sit in my bath, rinse away the touch and feel of them, while in the other room Dimello lies upon my bed, gazing up at the ceiling, smoking his fat cigar, singing between puffs some song he thinks I like, some verses he’s remembered from some former times. Mi máquina suave, he calls me, his soft machine, supple, malleable machine. He knows little of me; his mind is of lower things, of orifices and *******, of *****, drugs and ***** deeds. He knows nothing of my needs, my little wants and desires. I lay back in my bath, let the water soothe me, my ******* sit upon the water’s skin like dolphins about to skim the waves, but these just sit and wait, two small whales, my fingers touching them as if some lover had felt and loved. Sometimes I embrace this soft machine, my hands around me as if some secret lover held me close, or I kiss my arms with my soft lips, mocking Dimello with his damp thick lips, his ***** breath in my ears, his words like pinpricks on my flesh. Besaré la máquina suave, he says, I will kiss the soft machine, he repeats, his smile oily, his eyes dark as prunes. Last night he made love to me, his body like some pounding shark, his teeth nibbling my flesh, his fingers entering, feeling their way in the dark, his coarse voice mumbling his words of lust and love. My uncle loved this soft machine, he would tickle and touch in the summer days when I stayed for the holidays when my parents were away on their business trips abroad in other climes in my childhood times. Nuestro secreto, Uncle said, our secret, none must know, he would whisper, his hands seeking smooth my flesh, to soothe my troubled mind and me. The water in my bath grows cold; I hear Dimello singing from the other room, his head on my pillow, his cigar smoke invading my space. I arise from my bath; look at my soft machine, my body, with its suppleness, its litheness, its agility. I know each inch of this machine, feel it with my finger’s touch, hold it in embrace, kiss it with a self-love, a tenderness lacking in other’s touch. Dimello calls, his patience lacking, his lust returned. Apresure mi máquina suave, he calls, hurry, my soft machine, my body awaits your return, he says. I want him gone, want his body from my bed and home. He does not love as I wish to be loved, his love is of a lower kind, his wants and lusts feel me with dread. I look out of the window and see the morning sun, see the day coming with its freshness blooming, the birds singing from some nearby trees, and Dimello singing like some strangled cat, his voice echoing through the walls of my one roomed flat and lowering my lips I blow a kiss to the birds in flight trying to forget Dimello and his lustful night.