Natalie Scenters-Zapico is the author of Lima::Limón, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, and The Verging Cities (Center for Literary Publishing, 2015), winner of the PEN American/Joyce Osterweil Award, the Great Lakes College Association's New Writers Award, the National Association of Chicana/o Studies Book Award, and the Utah Book Award. She teaches creative writing and Chicanx literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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For My Son Born in La Mariscal
You bob & spit & bite
at my breast. You are my private
colony of sharp stones. I burn
your umbilical cord to ash.
Come, meet the spirits. Before
your birth I thought you an eyeball
bruised purple. I have no crib
to leave you in, but a maizena cardboard box
& a blanket of my thick dark hair.
I have done many things to feed your body—
things. Things for the price of what I
can endure in thirty minutes before
breaking. I know I can’t keep you,
but even stillborn I used the blood
I gave you to wash my legs clean.