More than one man has reached up my skirt

I’ve stopped asking:
             I’ve let a man whistle
                           from the table for more beer,
& brought it to him
                           with a smile. I’ve slapped
a man & ran
                           while he laughed — 
I’ve had a miscarriage. I’ve let a man
                                       kiss me
after an abortion
                                       & comforted his hot tears.
I’ve done these things,
                                                       while other girls
work in maquilas
                           piecing together
Dell computer boards,
                                       while other girls
work in brothels,
                           & cake foundation across
their bruised arms,
                                       while other girls
                           ride the bus home alone
             at night, every night,
while other girls are found
             wearing clothes
                           that don’t belong to them, or no
clothes at all. I’ve done all of this
                                       while other girls are found
                           with puta
                                       written in blood across
their broken bellies.
             My mother used to cover
my eyes
                           when we’d walk by girls
working the corner,
             & say:
                                       See how lucky you are,
not to have to work
                           like they do? I have been
             muy puta,
                                       have been called puta.
Yes, I’d say, very lucky.

More Poems by Natalie Scenters-Zapico