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—