Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet and educator born and raised in Massachusetts. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, where she won the Jack Kerouac Creative Writing Scholarship. She is currently an MFA candidate at New York University and an Associate Poetry Editor for BOAAT. A Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the Bodega Poetry Contest, her work appears or is forthcoming in Bodega, Day One, Vinyl, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn.
There is no crayon color for how
to express grief. My mother keeps making
oatmeal and bananas for breakfast. The children
in TV shows are always hungry
but never eat. We are taught to leave the table with
permission from a lord. I burn everything the day
she loses a baby. They’ve strapped
a bone to the bed. I don’t know the story
about the green line moving up
and down, getting toxic with gravity.
My two-day lover is a drug dealer, doesn’t
wear a ring, tells me about his wife
with one leg. But he feels good and I want to
sweat. He slinks off my silk. It’s dangling behind
my back and it’s empty how quickly
I am able to part the earth
like a yellow cow in a zebra skirt.
Sometimes I feel bad about his white
on my pussy, or his belly button and hair
beside my ear. When my father wants to be
gentle with my mother, he fries eggs.
In another language, he teaches me
how to serve the rice grains from the floor.
He says when a face is compressed in a dark place,
the sound is little.
DIARY ENTRY #16: DYSMORPHIA
I remember when I was addicted
to the red on my white underwear. I pretended
to have morals. I accepted its language. I think
words are worth believing. I think it was
my vagina’s fault, the space in between us,
the pink angel in my anus, how it spoke
like a donkey, a dream-speak before it died.
That’s when my lover made me bleed
for the second time, in his car by the Triana Bridge.
I sang to him like a good neighbor,
about the throbbing, down in my alcove,
where there was no mother, but a voice said
we could get groceries that week.
It’d be easy to blame my father
because it’s been two years since I’ve seen
the curves of his nose, since I crossed
an ocean to stare at his ceiling, to grow
a name from his. But I’m a really good girl,
I tell myself. I’m only four underwear away
from a stainless steel kitchen.