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

Scan the leaves on the dress, the cardinal in flight.
Recuerdalo: oiled lion, tubed to the nose. Pardon the line of
ripped bread on dried wood, the yield of red ranunculus and
peony ruffled. Parallel lines keep the wolf circling, our heads
snarled. It says so in the cards. A charge in the blood. A
crimson muscle twisted in ink. A pool of rotting oranges.
Twin girls joined at the nape. A record spinning in a fog-
draped living room, violins gathered in bouquets. To
resuscitate. A shatter of rain before the world drains into the
gulf. Tilt the tin bowl toward the mouth. Round the dogs in
the clearing, bind their claws with hair. Respetame. I was
thirteen when I first felt a blonde boy. I still cough up his
cornsilk, wind the spit in my fingers. Fresh white breasts in
the grass. Brown nipples like mushrooms. July rubied with
red stars. Boys float their bicycles into the trees. No one gets
in trouble but us. Blackberries erupt over the river. We
escape a patrolling moon. Trespassing is passage. Is there a
plan to dip the girl in ink, to lustre the hook from which she
will droop. The jaw hangs open. The yard is lousy with dead
dogs. To resuscitate. To resuscitate.

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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