National Poetry Month Day 21: Yesenia Montilla






The question is always posed at a party
            If you were a cast away on a deserted island
                        who would  you want to          hold?

& the penny is hurled in the air
we are for eternity torn between a face                       & a tail —

& we fall into one of two categories
            those who cast spells               & those that cast things aside

love may not be discarded       but shipwrecked          yes

& so on —

I’ve only been fly fishing once             it is something quite stunning
            the way the string dances above your head like wild imaginings
the striking of nylon against the pebbled water

the lure with its many colors dangling just above the wake
glistening like booty    & the fish come           if you’re silent

knee deep in Oshun’s river :: rubber against the skin :: lips slack from trying

                        I want to hold              you —
If tomorrow the lush green of an island were my only dress
It’d be                                                  you —

Every four years I cast a                                  vote
                        & I might die anyway
                                                regardless of the outcome —


1. to throw or hurl, fling :: to throw off or away :: to direct (the eye, a glance, etc), especially in cursory manner :: to cause to fall upon something or in certain directions; send forth :: to draw, as in telling fortunes :: to throw out (a fishing line, net, bait, etc.) :: to fish in (a stream, an area, etc.) :; to throw down or bring to the ground — 

Yesenia Montilla is an Afro Latina poet & translator, daughter of immigrants, and native New Yorker. The Pink Box, her first collection, was long-listed for the Pen Open Book Award in 2016. She lives in Harlem. More from this author →