Yesenia Montilla is an Afro-Latina poet & a daughter of immigrants. She received her MFA from Drew University in Poetry & Poetry in Translation. She is a CantoMundo graduate fellow and a 2020 NYFA fellow. Her first collection The Pink Box was published by Willow Books & was longlisted for a PEN award. Her second collection Muse Found in a Colonized Body is forthcoming from Four Way Books, 2022. She lives in Harlem, NY.
I Was Wrong Running Doesn’t Save Us
By Yesenia MontillaAdded: Friday, January 15, 2021 / Used with permission.
& I say run run
It’s the only thing our body does well enough
good enough to stay alive —
once at eight years old I nearly gave myself a concussion running
my mother would braid my hair and wrap the ends in the heaviest
hair ties with the biggest colorful glass balls; they were lethal; as
was my running game — I was a child after all, all full of joy and
fury, all bubble gum and smart mouth, my legs were thunder, my
heart that of a horse. Later as I got older, running became something
I did to be thin, I would run on the treadmill and feel so beautiful
after a 3 mile run; the experts say endorphins, I say it was the only
way I knew to stay connected to my ancestors. I wonder if that was
what Ahmaud was doing that day — communing with those that
came before? Were they training him for the same situation he found
himself in that afternoon; running for his life —
white men with guns as
jury, white men where
killing is their favorite sport —
Listen as Yesenia Montilla reads ""I Was Wrong Running Doesn't Save Us"."