POEM OF THE WEEK: Natalie Scenters-Zapico

Natalie Scenters-Zapico


I Didn’t Know You Could Buy


something not for sale until

I walked through Coyoacán

& watched gringos ignore


sign after sign: Casa No En Venta.

Still I watched men knock

on door after door stalking


houses they could paint blue,

just like Frida Kahlo’s. It’s like

the time two thieves knocked me


to my knees for twenty dollars.

I thought the thieves jewelers

as they punched my jaw until


each tooth turned dark amber.

Later, to save my body, I set

my teeth, muddy stones, into a crown


I wore the rest of summer. I know

how to hide bruises so the earth

won’t get jealous of lightning


produced by simple friction.

My landscape of curves & edges

that breaks light spectral


is not for sale, but men still knock

on rib after rib, stalking the perfect house—

the perfect shade of blue.


Natalie Scenters-Zapico is the author of Lima :: Limón (Copper Canyon Press, forthcoming 2019) and The Verging Cities (Center for Literary Publishing, 2015). She earned a BA from University of Texas at El Paso and an MFA in poetry from the University of New Mexico. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Indiana Review, Pleiades, Poetry magazine, Gulf Coast, and The Believer, among others.

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