Two Poems 

Diannely Antigua


Self-Portrait as Easter Pamphlet on the Door

There is a special night 

a thousand nights from this: 

I commemorate my annual dying, 

when I witnessed myself as a mountain, 

a failed Jehovah, no followers. 

I’m trying to reach 

the congregation inside me: Please 

join us for the death! You are welcome 

to attend! I’m trying 

to remember my giving up: 

location, date, and time. Was it 

in the meadow by the old school? 

Was it April? Were kingdoms 

lining the hall to the bathroom, 

when on hands and knees

I crawled to the toilet to find 

that my cup had not passed, but lived 

inside my gut, silver chalice and all?

I forget who witnessed the first time, 

who stood in the watch-tower on the hill, 

placed a Bible at my feet. I’m trying to believe 

I’m the collection to be had:

I’m broken like bread. 

Take, eat. 


I first saw the lights of New York while sitting on his shoulders,

while clinging to his jacket, the windbreaker slipping through

my sweaty little palms. I remember what I used to call him, 

a name I haven’t said in 18 years. 

And I remember his voice, the way it could fill a room,

his laugh, white teeth, gums pink and clean. 

Or how it could carry from the bedroom to the kitchen, 

to my mother and her face—

how a voice could create a hurt

I’d grow to recognize. I try to remember 

my own face, the one I must’ve made 

that August afternoon while watching TV on his bed. 

I remember that I showered after, maybe to cleanse

the shock, what a man could do to a child, 

unnoticed. Today there is something so vast 

about the New York skyline, the sharp 

edges of the buildings, the antennas sticking out the top

like great insects I bow down to 

while riding the M train to Manhattan. 

Or when I turned 26 at the base of the Empire State Building, 

decades after the first time I’d seen it 

and the feeling felt dangerous

like fleeting joy, like a summer day turned trauma. 

Sometimes the things we love most 

were shown to us by the people 

who caused the most pain. I admit

something was planted in me, a need 

to complicate a happiness. I think he taught me that lesson, 

from a place so high up, I don’t know how I’d get there 

again, how I could possibly touch 

the hem of a cloud from here. 



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Diannely Antigua

Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet and educator, born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection Ugly Music (YesYes Books, 2019) was the winner of the Pamet River Prize. A graduate of the MFA program at NYU, she is the recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, and the Fine Arts Work Center Summer Program. Her poems can be found in Washington Square Review, Bennington Review, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. Her heart is in Brooklyn.