The Cosmic Millimeter

Alessandra Narváez-Varela



My dad holds my hand, I watch my curls, young and copper-like
reflected on the glass of a pet shop, where a man stares back—
I turn around, he does not move or blush, his long, dark-haired

gaze says something between “what?” and “aren’t you pretty?
aren’t you smart?” but I knew he lied: he didn’t know my pretty
sister or see the bronze stars on my math journal. Confusion:

this is how it starts for some of us, because beauty is a princess
who is admired from far away, not yanked, just like it happened
to her: eyes so green, a face so round, they had to be tasted

by a man who hugged so hard her hymen broke, who said without
music: “pull your pants down, Chilean princesita, show papi
that bald bud.” Confusion again: her pubis was not a pubis

because there was no want, not yet, just watch the male everything
my niece says looks like “Eric, the prince” and kisses, shameless,
on the cheek, climbs his lap without a care for the protruding flesh,

with the trust you and I have lost in the space of a cosmic
millimeter, measured by an invisible, white ruler, the same
that kept that man from proving I was fair, fairest of them all,

and allowed that other man to snap her soundless in between
his hands. Clarity: in filling the blank from being complimented,
to being scarred there is no word that sticks as much as lick —

just watch the sweat pouring from Monica Belluci’s upper lip,
her mouth, a waning moon begging the man to stop, to stop
her rape (our rape) of fifteen minutes on film non    stop.



Alessandra Narváez-Varela was born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, México, with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso, She is currently a Creative Writing instructor and a candidate in the Bilingual MFA Creative Writing program at UTEP, as well as a math and science tutor at Anthony High School in Anthony, Texas. Her poetry mostly explores girlhood and womanhood in terms of identity, language, and sexuality. 

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