Michael Zapata

My parents are dancing. Their steps are Venn Diagrams, permanently looped into the oak-wood flooring. Their bodies are concentric hemispheres. They are rocking back and forth and my mother’s heels are clicking like Amtrak wheels but, at times, my mother is also swinging from my father’s arms and she is beautiful and her skin is not Devil White like my abuelita expected when my father called one day from Quito to Santa Fe to say he fell in love with an American student—her skin is not pallid, pasty, ashen, wan, piss or even pearly, snow-white, ivory—or like any gringita‘s—her skin is the color of luz and my father knows not to let go or the song will be ruined.

Chicago, 2008

Michael Zapata is a writer and educator living in Chicago. He is co-founder and fiction editor for MAKE: A Chicago Literary Magazine. He has produced and written for comedy revues at Second City’s Donny’s Skybox, The Viaduct, The Trap Door Theater, and the Apollo Theater Chicago, and is co-creator, co-writer of the television pilot Settling Up. He is also a 2008 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship recipient for Prose. Currently, he is working on a novel entitled Children of Orleans. Email: mikezapata[at]