The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Beast Meridian by Vanessa Angelica Villarreal

I find the victims in the valley I hunt the wilderness in myself I stalk my prey
through myself let hornets hive my womb I am born fragrant stars and
make planets of my body I noble the old people I make victim the valley
I make mountains kneel in myself I eat a crown of lead make him an air
I unearth the noble victim I make valleys of
young women I cleave white the wilderness take violence into ourself I victim the gods in the
valley the victim she is myself victim in the
valley it is my own sun I stalk my victim in the
valley it is my sun people I hunt my hunter
the wilderness in myself I open my illness
to the kingdom I am cleaved by the old and
new world I entomb elders in the valley and
grow mild flowers of their teeth I birth a
betrayed nation I fill with hunted the
wilderness is myself my illness led us to this see my braid the poisoned river and the
lost tongues I walk as night I carry the child of the noble cause I make my victim my
nation in the valley I hunt the wilderness in myself stalk the tall grasses I am she
who betrays blood for a little bit of kingdom


This selection comes from the collection Beast Meridian, available from Noemi Press. Order your copy here. Our curator for December is Jessica Rae Bergamino.

Vanessa Angélica Villarreal was born in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands to formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in PBS Newshour, Poor Claudia, Apogee, Waxwing, The Wanderer, Sporklet, DIAGRAM, The Feminist Wire, The Poetry Foundation Harriet Blog, and elsewhere. She has served as an editor for the Bettering American Poetry project and is a CantoMundo Fellow. Her book, Beast Meridian, is forthcoming from Noemi Press in 2017. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Poetry and Digital Media Arts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she eats tacos with her family, but her forever hometown is Houston, Texas.

Jessica Rae Bergamino is the author of UNMANNED, forthcoming from Noemi Press, as well as the chapbooks The Desiring Object or Voyager Two Explains to the Gathering of Stars How She Came to Glow Among Them (Sundress Publications), The Mermaid Singing (dancing girl press), and Blue in All Things: a Ghost Story (dancing girl press). Individual poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Third Coast, Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, and Southern Humanities Review. She is a doctoral student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah, where she serves as Reviews Editor for Quarterly West.

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