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Diannely Antigua

Three Poems by Diannely Antigua



Issue No. 3 || CURRENCY



before I killed the person I couldn’t love. I still see her

shadow. I still use her toilet to vomit what’s left

of the latest Taco Bell binge. You know the world

doesn’t stop if you undress. If you undress

all the white boys will still smell the same

when they unshelter you. So I place my cleanliness next

to my evil, so I create a disorder of repetition and protruding

ribs. Without our help, the brain knows what to do—

the migrating birds become black pepper to the sky and the bruised

thigh becomes just another accident. This year

I light a candle on Sylvia’s birthday, pretend

to eat the cake, my appetite for a knife on my wrist only a tease

until it’s not. Until it’s not cake but the earth

and the body I shove into it.





That’s how I’d remember the turn

to get to the highway—at the bottom

of Hill Road, there used to be a yellow church

with a matching yellow Volkswagen bug parked outside.

The steeple was my breadcrumb, until

the church was renovated into riverfront lofts, the yellow

painted red, the Volkswagen—gone, too.

I used to compare the fallen leaves on that winding

drive to those prostrated in reverence, until

I learned there is a whole family of prostrate

plants, with branches growing only just above

the ground, unable to ever reach the vast canopy

of trees surrounding it. I had forgotten

about the glitter made when glass shatters,

until the fresh shards stark against the black pavement

lit up a constellation. I had forgotten

about the abandoned mills across the river, and the looms,

and the girls—how could I forget the girls—

now ghosts, witnessing again the damage done

when a body meets a machine.





When he leaves the café, my panties

are still dry. He can’t conjure

me anymore. Instead, I wet myself

with thoughts of licking

my finger in the bathroom,

of pleasure without his name. I want

to say my own name, chant it.

Are you there me, it’s

me? Which is to say I am the hand

that slapped my face in the middle of the street

that night in June, then that other night

in June. I fell to the pavement and someone

caught my arm. Maybe I am perpetually

bored—that is a disease of the mind.

I want to be the ruined woman who stays

alive. Anna Karenina jumped in front of a train,

Madame Bovary with arsenic, and me

with the same pills as last time. I want to have

an affair and not feel guilty, escape

the provincial life I’ll never live.

I might be a glutton for gluttony. I’ve been

promised a fatness, one with an inventory

of things to count—dresses and curtains

and microwave ovens, La Croix

to drown in, a pillowtop bed. I make

a Pinterest board of the good life,

touch myself to the teal green of my imagined

KitchenAid mixer. In my mind, I’m rolling

in sheets of Egyptian cotton, and I feel

a blessing from inside me release.

Diannely Antigua

Diannely Antigua


Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet and educator, born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection (YesYes Books, 2019) was the winner of the Pamet River Prize and received a 2020 Whiting Award. A graduate of NYU's MFA Creative Writing Program, she is the recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, and the Fine Arts Work Center Summer Program. Her poems can be found or are forthcoming in Poem-a-Day, The American Poetry Review, Washington Square Review, Narrative, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere.

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