A Space for Writers of the World
And when I realize the woman in the film looks just like my sister and the film will end
as all snuff films end, I wonder if I should turn off my computer.
And the lens, too burnt to tell if the man that pulls her hair has a cigarette or a toothpick
in his mouth, only reveals I can’t stand to see her planked body.
And when I tell myself the knife at her throat will kill her, I can’t help but remember
when I jumped into myself through a mirror at a bar where I had too much cocaine.
And how a blue-faced man put his hand up my skirt, how he delicately arched his fingers
and made me cry until I thought: people find beauty in a field of weeds.
And the next day my mouth was an anthill and I cried in my closet thinking he’d be the
only myrmecologist to see the colonies inside me.
And later I drank insecticide, but the ants poured out of my every orifice. They
whispered: now we know your deepest tissue—it is rotting.
And I asked: have I been rotting since they deported me? And they said: no, we’ve been
boring holes in you much longer than that.
And the weeds in my closet prophesized, before they died, that I’d be snapped in half and
fed to monsters in an ocean I’ve never known.
And I know the weeds truly grow when I look closer at the screen and realize the girl in
the film couldn’t be my sister, but that braided hair could only belong to me.
* * *
hidden in the rocks. He looked
for the curve of their antennae. He hunted
trilobites and ferns caked in white.
He hunted trilobites and ferns until
he found a human skull. A woman,
her teeth blanched yellow, her cartilage
slooped over her face. The archeologist
left her severed body for the sun
to eat, but then it wouldn’t leave him.
He hunted trilobites and ferns, but after
that day, he left the desert and wrote:
The human skull was of a girl ages 16-19.
I’d never really seen violence
until that day. Her face was already
bone. Her body, scattered.
The archeologist learned how
to love a place quiet, pull it off you,
how to brush each bone and take
its print. The archeologist came
to hunt trilobites and ferns caked in white.
But she too, was always hunted.
* * *
Natalie Scenters-Zapico is from the sister cities of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, México. Her work has appeared in The Believer, Cream City Review, Bellevue Literary Review, PALABRA, and more. She is managing editor of Blue Mesa Review.