Yesenia Montilla

Yesenia Montilla is an Afro-Latina poet & a daughter of immigrants. She received her MFA from Drew University in Poetry & Poetry in translation. She is a CantoMundo graduate fellow and a 2020 NYFA fellow. Her work has been published in Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Prairie Schooner, Gulf Coast and in Best of American Poetry. Her first collection The Pink Box is published by Willow Books & was longlisted for a PEN award. Her second collection Muse Found in a Colonized Body is forthcoming from Four Way Books, 2022. She lives in Harlem, NY.

After Adele Says That Her Father’s Death Closed Her Childhood Wounds

Somewhere there is a field filled
with my father’s misfortunes

I ask Elegua to take me there
I want to see for myself, I want

to know what flowers grow there
I want to know if he holds his

mother’s love of god, & his crack
pipe against the backdrop of

waterfalls & my mother’s young
girl waist. What creatures unfurl

themselves as he yawns away all
his greatest hits. Was he just placed

on this earth to make me? Or
did he, in some distant time bend

at the river’s edge to see his own
reflection & that face of his was

enough. Papi, la comida esta ready
Papi, déjame ayudarte con esos

zapatos. Papi, papi, papi. I am
his mother now, closing wounds

not mine— 

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