The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Learning to Love a Western Sky by Amelia Díaz Ettinger

This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Callista Buchen, is from Learning to Love a Western Sky by Amelia Díaz Ettinger, released by Airlie Press in 2020. 

N.C.—Before you Disappeared—

               content warning for incest

On runs after school
under incandescent sun,
you, stained the Catholic white
of your uniform.
The neighborhood pharmacy, so close to home,
an oasis.
Its air-conditioned interior, a safe cave
               away from your stepfather’s eyes.
Reading behind the shelves:
Wonder Woman—and, of course, Superman—
until caught.
Laughing with the abandon of a girl, just thirteen,
mouth full of stolen candy.
Who else knew?

Your name scratched from morning roll call,
but whispered in the halls as a snake crawl.
Girls huddling in tight groups,
Floating stories with the density of a stone.
Your cascabel voice silenced,
forced to be a sister to your child.

Who will play the guitar at the student show,
or fill the barrio with your laughter?

Amelia Díaz Ettinger is a ‘Mexi-Rican,’ born in México but raised in Puerto Rico. As a BIPOC poet and writer, she has two full-length poetry books published; Learning to Love a Western Sky by Airlie Press, and a bilingual poetry book, Speaking at a Time /Hablando a  la Vez by Redbat Press, and a poetry chapbook, Fossils in a Red Flag by Finishing Line Press, in 2021. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in literary journals and anthologies. Presently, Amelia Díaz Ettinger is working on an MFA in creative writing at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande Oregon.

Callista Buchen is the author of the full-length collection Look Look Look (Black Lawrence Press, 2019), and the chapbooks The Bloody Planet (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) and Double-Mouthed (dancing girl press, 2016). Her work appears in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Fourteen Hills, and many other journals. She is the winner of the DIAGRAM’s essay contest and the C.D Wright conference’s Emerging Writer award, and is the founder of the Carlson-Stauffer Reading Series at Franklin College. 


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