Natalie Shapero
Contributions

Natalie Shapero's poetry has appeared recently in The Believer, FIELD, Iron Horse Literary Review and elsewhere, and her book of poems, No Object, is forthcoming from Saturnalia. She lives and works in Washington, DC.

Four Fights


1.

(point) To stop a crime in progress,
                                 racking the action is often enough.

(counterpoint) Woody Allen: NOTHING WORTH KNOWING
CAN BE UNDERSTOOD WITH THE MIND –

                  EVERYTHING REALLY VALUABLE HAS TO ENTER
YOU THROUGH A DIFFERENT OPENING.

                                                         So much dark

I would like to be kept in. When I said you could think of me
as your therapist,
           I meant can you leave the room and I’ll make notes?


2.

The housecat was declawed due to aggression, but turned only
more combative post-procedure. This was against her interests
and also was expected. She had developed a hypervigilant
tendency, symptomatic of trauma-related stress, of being pinned
and severed of defenses. She was quick to battle and couldn’t
fend anything off. Stitching her side at the clinic, the doctor
waved away cash: COME NOW, YOUR MONEY’S NO GOOD HERE.


3.

(point) The It Girl finally had an orgasm and her doctor
told her it was the wrong kind.

(counterpoint) Woody Allen: I’VE NEVER
                          HAD THE WRONG KIND, EVER, EVER. MY WORST ONE

WAS RIGHT ON THE MONEY.

                Some girls charge by the hour; some, the act.

And what can I do for you? I’m not the healthy sky downing
a raw egg yolk at night and spitting it
                                                        back in the morning.
        I can dish it out but can’t, and how


4.

        could you leave me in this low

lying state, replete with slings and swinging doors and how
many times have we all seen fucking Manhattan?

                        In the end, he gets with the teenage girl

and you really don’t know how to feel.
                                I don’t expect compassion.



Arranged Hours


The low moon rattled me. Sobered, through with the good life, it arrived
papery and urgent as Marley, the ghost in the chains, the ghost always

omitted in the wrong answer THREE to the question HOW MANY GHOSTS
APPEAR IN A CHRISTMAS CAROL?
I remember a thin book, ratty blanket that,

when I held it, chilled me as the anterooms of the starving
or haunted. It is unbefitting to believe in ghosts, to believe what one reads,

what one writes. With a vegetable knife, I excised my long-gone love
from a sheet of photographs, but I couldn’t remove the shadow

he’d cast without doing violence to others. I packed my albums and drove
back to Chicago; in my absence, it had snowed incorrigibly, and I returned

to my city as though to a burgled home, the streets upended, piles of weather
and trash everywhere and the cars strewn in odd spots, no use to anyone. I am

not particularly interested in living bent on vengeance, the murder
victim who spends her last moments scrawling in sand the name of the sap

who killed her. I heard an accomplished scientist refer to the practice of autopsy
as QUESTIONING WITH THE KNIFE. He kissed me in a library

for special books that had no dedications. That is the idiom
of my generation. I can’t speak for anyone else. I wax ever sharper,

harsher, or unchanged, I cannot say. Am I seeing things? How do
we decide who should be hurt? That moon, it was so low it was the Earth.