• Natalie Scenters-Zapico


  • shows I’m dressed for worship. My sins:
  • so many I lie in losing count. Enter
  • the cathedral between my thighs
  • and inside a box, and inside the box
  • red silk. Red silk: my blood. Forgiveness
  • lets me wear a crown in public.
  • Forgiveness lets me wear
  • my blood in pubic. Will you
  • take my little box of blood? It is blood
  • I found on a street near the red
  • looming X of Juárez. Will you take it?
  • I can’t bear it between my thighs
  • any longer. Please take my blood,
  • so in silt-stricken water I can die
  • the way my mother taught me
  • to dye silk, with the pulped red petals
  • of a yucca in spring. She taught me
  • to die, but not to bleed because
  • a woman’s body bleeds without injury.
  • I lie down in the desert & pull red silk
  • from the cathedral between my thighs.
  • I spend all day dying, not from the bite
  • of a snake on my head, but from the red
  • silk bridges collapsing between my fingers.

NATALIE SCENTERS-ZAPICO is the author of The Verging Cities (Center for Literary Publishing), which won the PEN American/Joyce Osterweil Award and the GLCA award, as well as the forthcoming Lima :: Limón (Copper Canyon Press). Her most recent poems can be found in POETRY, Boston Review, and West Branch. Starting in Fall 2017, she will be teaching at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Issue Three
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