Kept

I was so thirsty, you cracked
an egg into my mouth. I ate it
& thanked you. We were so

rich then. I imagined the moon,
a being I’d never seen, in every nail
you’d use to tack the tarp

over our heads. I confused
hens clucking for the ringing
of the phone you’d never

let me answer. With a spatula
to my ear, I’d pretend to be
a woman on TV & say:

¿Bueno? Your anger
was the gun you kept by the door,
my fear, the knife I used to chop

onions. One night you confused
the sound of a snake rattling
for rain. The snake opened

its jaw & its fangs were the color
of mud. You reached for my thighs
just before you died & I couldn’t

face you. Once you stopped
breathing I rubbed your beard
between my hands

& played the most beautiful
cumbia. We danced
for the first time since our wedding.

More Poems by Natalie Scenters-Zapico