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


HORNED WOMAN ANCESTOR
pig hearts on table
good salted beast
splayed amidst bursts of
petals and our naked feet
at noon we birth
that clement knot
little fists of bloodhair
emerge sacred from the mound
and she arrives
beneath the forest floor
the earth opens & yawns
brassbright fish
bursts of fragrant red fruit
and after the atrocity
my daughters will walk
along the palm of God’s hand
to find me——
I will know you by your heavy horns and two faces
to look always South as you look North
to survive this nightmare so American
where you count coins
you do not have


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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