By Natalie Scenters-Zapico
Part of the simulation is not knowing
your coyote’s real name. Part of the simulation
is knowing your group could leave you
behind. Part of the simulation is knowing
that if you are left behind, a pickup truck
will take you back to your hotel.
Through caves, through brush, through needles
we form a line by holding on
to a stranger’s backpack. In the dark live
rounds are fired. I duck, people laugh.
The desert here is no desert at all & I think of how
I could cut a thick barrel cactus open
& eat it. In Chihuahua I’ve never seen
thick barrel cactus, only the thin long threads
of ocotillo that don’t carry much water.
The chairos pay 250 pesos to walk
all night in the desert in the middle of México
to simulate a border crossing. They bring jugs
filled with water & pose for selfies.
When you wade across the river you only have to worry
about swimming if a current pulls you under, not the red
glare of night-vision goggles, floodlights & guns.
In the simulation, only two people make it
to the other side without getting stopped by actors
portraying la migra or narcos. All are brought back
for cups of atole. It’s three in the morning, a girl laughs.
I walk back to my room, turn on the light
& the flying ants won’t stop swarming. It is so dark
& have so much water left in my jug.
My teeth full of grit from the atole.
Natalie Scenters-Zapico, "Ixniquilpan, Hidalgo, México" from Lima :: Limón. Copyright © 2019 by Natalie Scenters-Zapico. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Source: Lima :: Limón (2019)
More Poems about Activities
I come home,
feet about to bleed
from angry stomping.
“Boy!” says Mom.
“Quit making all that racket.”
But what does she expect
when, day after day,
haters sling words at me
like jagged stones
designed to split my skin?
I retreat to my room,
collapse on the bed,
count, “One. Two....
Nowhere Else to Go
Turn off the lights.
Wear another layer.
(Sounds like a dad.)
(Sounds like a mom.)
You say hand-me-down.
I say retro.
Walk some more.
(See what I did there,
Your name in Sharpie
on a good water bottle.
Backpack. New habits.
No thanks, don’t need a bag.
Tell ten friends
More Poems about Social Commentaries
A wishbone branch falls
from my Grandma Thelma’s oak
What do you know about magic? e1 asks.
E bends e old body down, turns
the wishbone branch into
a cross, places it around my neck.
I am strapped at the Black River’s right shoulder,
I want to put down what the mountain has awakened.
My mouthful of grass.
My curious tale. I want to stand still but find myself moved patch by patch.
There's a bleat in my throat. Words fail me here. Can you understand? I...