Back to Issue Twenty-Three.




In Santo Domingo—
the neighbor boy’s belly
a maze of dirt lines—electric wires

exposed—each street a limb
splaying its wiry network
as if mid-surgery.

Every turn shocks you
like a woman’s wig waved
from a window—the street

market of Los Millones—a feast
of tables heavy with cotton
shirts, children’s pajamas,

bunches of uvas de playas
glinting like glass
eyes in a crate—

Later at the resort
a dark man in uniform
offers you cold juice from a tray—

enormous palms
fan velvet couches—a harem
of heated pools blaze

outside, where children
splash their floatable arms.
A maid—her nose

like yours—leads you
to a too-cold room— gaunt
air conditioner sweating under

the window’s sill—& you
recall reading once of
a Dominican military officer

who invited foreign
diplomats to his home,
offered them such cool luxuries—

once, even the still-warm
breasts of a female slave—sliced
like the halves of an apple

on a silver tray.


Natalie Rose Richardson is a graduate from the University of Chicago and a Fellow at the Rebuild Foundation on Chicago’s South Side. She grew up in Oak Park, Illinois.

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