The Hunt

Natalie Scenters-Zapico

                                           As a child a macho told me to close

                                           my legs or he’d take me to a dark room

                                           & make me cry. I closed

                                           my legs. He asked me

                                           to give him a kiss. I gave him

                                           a kiss. I could not stop crying,

                                           & he could not understand why.



                                           My father was a ghost

                                           in our house. He would not speak

                                           for days, then drop a glass of water

                                           on the kitchen floor. My mother

                                           always swept up his shatters

                                           & buried them in the yard.



                                           At thirteen a macho put his hands

                                           on my knees, then became tarantula,

                                           travelled up my skirt. I didn’t scream

                                           because I felt chosen. I felt lucky

                                           he had chosen me to be hunted.



                                           Machos hunt to watch women

                                           in orgasm. Not because they like

                                           to see women in pleasure,

                                           but because they like to watch

                                           women close to death.



                                           Machos don’t know what it is

                                           to give birth

                                           to the dead. Machos know

                                           pleasure through release. Machos

                                           hunt to give pain & to witness

                                           pleasure. To testify:

                                           the resurrection of the body.



                                           I will not apologize

                                           for my desire to love a macho

                                           who could crush my skull

                                           with his bare fists.



                                           I apologize to a daughter

                                           for telling her to close her legs.

                                           Machos are hunting, always hunting

                                           to see women close to death.



                                           I work two jobs & still come home

                                           to an empty pantry. I am a bad woman

                                           when I can’t feed hunger. My labor:

                                           the taste of bleach after an alacrán stings my feet.



                                           I write to machos & never

                                           send my letters. In the age

                                           of los Zetas, I am a lucky

                                           hembra: I have a language

                                           to write of the violence of machos.



                                           I watch the azahars grow into lemons

                                           machos pull too early from their branches.

                                           I slice each lemon’s rind into translucent

                                           sheets & place each little sun under

                                           the tongue of my macho who eats & eats.


about the author