One of the most enriching, forward-thinking, fastest-growing online creative communities flourishing right now is the Poetry community, especially in those scenes that center on marginalized voices — Women, POC, Neurodivergent, and LGBTQ. Poetry Spotlight is a feature aiming to showcase the work of some of the most talented creators we’ve discovered making waves on the Internet literary circles, inside or outside the mainstream. Installment #14 is dedicated to the work of American poet Analicia Sotelo.
Analicia is the author of Virgin, the inaugural winner of the Jake Adam York Prize, selected by Ross Gay for Milkweed Editions, 2018. She is also the author of the chapbook, Nonstop Godhead, selected by Rigoberto González for a 2016 Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship. Her poem “I’m Trying to Write a Poem About a Virgin and It’s Awful” was selected for Best New Poets 2015 by Tracy K. Smith. Poems have also appeared in the New Yorker, Boston Review, FIELD, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and The Antioch Review. She is the recipient of the 2016 DISQUIET International Literary Prize, a Canto Mundo fellowship, and scholarships from the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Image Text Ithaca Symposium. She holds a BA in English Literature from Trinity University and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Houston. Analicia is the Director of Communications and Development at Writers in the Schools.
The babies are beautifully abstract.
In the dream, I am given three.
I kiss their sweet, ruddy cheeks.
I make midnight runs for formula.
Of course I have no husband!
Back home, they’re fine.
They’re playing on my twin bed.
That’s what happens when bad luck
hands you someone else’s babies.
They think your bed is their playground,
a field that drops into space,
and they are the astronauts and you
are the gravity, pulling them
back from the edge
by their diapers just in time.
In their soft helmets, they laugh.
They say, Again! Again!
A blank, thick-cut
poster lands in my lap. What’s this?
Meet the milky amnesia of parenthood.
My brain’s gotten fuzzy.
I can’t remember
and then I do remember:
babies—but it’s too late. What’s this?
Just drop it. I’m there
at the edge just in time
to see its neck snap, head
crushed against body. I cup it
with my hand. It’s a featherless pigeon.
I lay it on a heap of mounting trash
in the back of some building.
I’m a mess, and it isn’t even funny
how in dreams, there can be more
than two truths. Like how, just now,
there are three babies back in my arms.
What’s this? This mourning is mine forever.
The Single Girl’s Rest Cure
The fiancés were like physicians
cutting right down to the diamonds
They said love is like milk
They said love is like steak
it’s best when rare
They said help yourself now
before your stock runs out
I said: I’m twenty-five on purpose
I said: I’m hungry, but not that hungry
I said: There’s the grave, there it is
holding a bouquet of weeds, proposing a life together
They said relax
They said relax
sleeping helps & later, gardens & newborns
I said: I’m getting out of here I said: You’re all divorcing
They said what about strawberries & cream
They said what about codependency it isn’t that bad
They said don’t read into it just be careful what you read
I said: I am careful that’s what I’m here for
[From Virgin by Analicia Sotelo (Minneapolis, Milkweed Editions, 2018). Copyright (c) 2018 Analicia Sotelo. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions. milkweed.org]