Yesenia Montilla

Author Photo.jpg

Yesenia Montilla is an Afro-Latina poet & translator. Her poetry has appeared in The Wide Shore, Prairie Schooner, and others. She received her MFA from Drew University in poetry & poetry in translation and is a CantoMundo Fellow. The Pink Box is published by Willow Books and was long-listed for the Pen Open Book Award 2016.

Muse Found In South Carolina

Unarmed black man shot         again
            & it took me a moment to swallow
                        :: officer charged with              murder ::

Because gravity is still working just fine & it ain’t the end of the world
            birds are still chirping as if nothing done gone wrong for a white man
                        & I wanna holler hallelujah!

Celebrating in my bed with champagne &
                        slow whistles escaping through my teeth

maybe I shouldn’t be all fucking uppity about it
maybe I shouldn’t celebrate                                         reprimand       
            a black man is still dead                                                                       again


Lately, I am a slow burning bourbon in the throat, horrified at my own bitterness,
so I am going to build a shrine with my soot-filled heart to the hero in this story       

Feidin, sauntering about being canopied from the sun by trees without eyes —
I won’t forget your name I will always remember         you     
recording a black man  running                                    away               
& getting                                
in the back                              
thank you for staying & capturing humanity                at its worse      

& to the grass
thank you for how you cradled                                    Walter’s body
                        & soaked up    his final heaving breaths —


Posted on April 18, 2018 .