To see if you're still alive, heat caramel in a pan until it spits asteroids onyour arms. Take good care of your burns. Your scars should never lastlonger than two years. Pain needs a clean slate to play on.Wear a red dress & let men pull at it all night. Your desire: to have yourhair pulled, to bleed, to lick your wounds like a dog in heat.Say you're sorry for getting angry. Say you're sorry for being angry. Sayyou're sorry that you're angry.Anger is the emotion of men. By adding sugar, lime & salt you can turnanger into sadness as a good woman should.Stop sobbing, it's ugly. Instead, emulate the glass tears on virgins wholook up to the men who bruised their bodies.Tell your man: You're machista. Have him repeat this statement back toyou in html.Like in the movies let the pot boil over, until he screams he'll send youback home to your mother. When he can't stop laughing, laugh too—become the foreigner who doesn't understand.¡Ay pena penita pena! Listen to Lola Flores & search for the painbetween your eyes on WebMD. Don't feel bad if you sob in one roomwhile he reads about aporia in the next.Like la Lola Flores, you have beautiful hair; unlike la Lola, sell it tomake rent.Laugh when he says: Mi'ja, cabróna, ingrata & eres mía. Assure him he'snot turning into his father.When he says you are letting this happen, don't reply. Put his fingersin your mouth & hold your breath when he asks: Who taught you to hateyourself?
Copyright © 2019 by Natalie Scenters-Zapico
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Natalie Scenters-Zapico is a fronteriza from the sister cities of El Paso, Texas, USA, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. She is the author of The Verging Cities, winner of the PEN America/Osterweil Award and Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. Scenters-Zapico has won fellowships from CantoMundo and Lannan Foundation and was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. She is a professor of literature at Bennington College.
"These poems, with electric brilliance, speak fiercely as they straddle various borders, especially the one between El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico."
"In gleaming, evocative verse that combines Spanish and English, the poet interrogates her homelands of the mirror cities of Ciudad Juárez and El Paso while exploding timeworn notions of masculinity and femininity. "
—Booklist, Starred Review
"Her second poetry book, much like her first, not only bears witness to darkness, but puts out a call for more light. A book to visit and revisit."