The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Unearthed by Federica Santini

This selection, chosen by guest editor Shlagha Borah, is from Unearthed by Federica Santini, released by Kelsay Books in 2021.


Can you unearth water? Make it raise from twisted veins
with forked rod, bifurcated tongue lapping
green lodes—attracted, slowly re-surfacing, re-versed
pattern of deep well digging itself
filling up

Can you unearth yourself, with long precise strides,
from heart and hearthstone? From well-established
lodes of running, retorted silver? Abandon
the silk and the thread, the headstone of
flame, the never-pronged path?

You, dappled seed, twisted rivulet seeking
the surface: where are you when nobody looks?

Federica Santini is a Professor of Italian and Interdisciplinary Studies at Kennesaw State University. Her scholarly work and literary translations have been published in numerous journals and volumes in the U.S. and Italy. Her own poetry and short fiction have appeared internationally in over 50 journals and anthologies. She has authored or co-edited six volumes, among which her monograph, Io era una bella figura una volta: Viaggio nella poesia di ricerca del secondo Novecento (2013), and the English language, annotated edition of I Novissimi. Poetry for the Sixties, with Luigi Ballerini (2017), as well as her poetry chapbook, Unearthed (2021).

Shlagha Borah (she/her) is a poet from Assam, India. Her work appears in Salamander, Nashville Review, Identity Theory, Longleaf Review, Variant Literature, Rogue Agent, and elsewhere. She is pursuing an MFA in Poetry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is an Associate Poetry Editor at Grist. She has received support for her work from Brooklyn Poets and Sundress Academy for the Arts. She is the co-founder of Pink Freud, a student-led collective working towards making mental health accessible in India.

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