The Verging Cities (Mountain West Poetry Series) by Natalie Scenters-Zapico

By Natalie Scenters-Zapico

From undocumented males named Angel, to angels falling from the sky, Natalie Scenters-Zapico’s gripping debut assortment, The Verging Cities, is stuffed with explorations of immigration and marriage, narco-violence and femicide, and angels within the household sphere. Deeply rooted alongside the US-México border within the sister towns of El Paso, Texas, and Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, those poems provide a courageous new voice to the ways that overseas politics have an effect on the person. Composed in quite a few varieties, from sonnet and epithalamium to endnotes and box notes, each one poem distills violent tales of narcos, undocumented immigrants, border patrol brokers, and the folk who fall in love with one another and their traumas.

The border in Scenters-Zapico’s The Verging Cities exists in a visceral position the place the true is (sur)real. In those poems mouths communicate suspended from ceilings, numbered steel poles mark the border and enthusiasts’ spines, and towns scream to one another at evening via fences that “ooze in simple terms silt.” This daring new imaginative and prescient of border existence among what has been named the most secure urban within the usa and the homicide capital of the realm is in deep dialog with different border poets—Benjamin Alire Saenz, Gloria Anzaldúa, Alberto Ríos, and Luis Alberto Urrea—while constructing itself as a brand new and haunting interpretation of the border as a verge, the start of 1 factor and the top of one other in consistent cycle.

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A wedding followed by an interview. A wedding, a dark fingerprint, a green card hard enough to pick a lock with. A wedding to the slow snaps of the camera. Your brother, your sister, your mouth, a wet star drowning. 47 angels fall from the sky to el paso, texas I wonder what he sees first: a building, perhaps a bank of windows cutting into the sky. Or a road, a freeway stitched with cars so small it looks like a fine embroidered curtain. And Angel, what do you think of? Do you think: This is me—dying in the sky?

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. Her remains not worth burial or the glass case of a museum. 32 in a dust storm the paper is bleached quiet— missing fliers caught on the barbed wire rust of the border fence—only some make it to the cradled river. I catch a flier in my hand— a seventeen-year-old girl I knew, her picture splotched with toner.

I have seen you sit in parking lots, whispering of light and the smoke that rises from me. Because you think me a woman, you think me beautiful, but we are of the same concrete. At night I grow hysterical and scream: open your home, open your home to me. You drive our children to desolate places and pretend they aren’t yours. 57 3. I walk through the concrete cradles built to channel our century flood. We mark the world in lines and forget the land never knew them. Watch the drywall houses in the arroyo get washed to rubble.

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