Muse Found in a Colonized Body

Muse Found in a Colonized Body

In the book’s eponymous poem, Yesenia Montilla writes, “How do you not love yourself when you / constantly survive your undoing just by being precious?” Muse Found in a Colonized Body answers this rhetorical question by populating itself with poems that range far and wide in content—observing pop culture, interrogating history, resisting contemporary injustice—but that share the spinal cord of unflinching love. As Rachel Eliza Griffiths notes, Montilla’s “powers orbit and intuit the lives of Philando Castile, Captain America, Christian Cooper, Karl Marx, Ahmaud Arbery, Eartha Kitt, and many more while stitching our wounded identities, memories, and histories in defiant poems of revision and joyous reclamation.” The vertebral odes of this collection at turns uplift desire, affirm life, celebrate protest, and condemn the violent greed of imperial usurpation that has produced the US as we know it. Both in its criticism and its admiration, Muse Found in a Colonized Body calls upon its readers to rise to the occasion of these lyrics’ profound care.

“Manifest Destiny,” from Muse Found in a Colonized Body

How we took something

like universal law & made it

violent. How we are violent.

How we think destiny is two

things: a reward & a good

time. How we think manifest

is one thing: a destiny. How

we don’t know how to be still.

How we don’t know how to

desire & then let go. How we

want it all, only to be less than

tender with it. How when spring

time comes around, we find

ourselves in a field surrounded

by dandelions & when a soft wind

blows the specs stir & take flight

around us. How we know nothing,

so we call it snow—