In our last installment of "This Work Will Take Dancing," our series highlighting work from Latinx writers living in the South, we share poems from Andrea Beltran and MJ Santiago that take us across time and space, from natural disaster to mythmaking, from intimate grief to cinematic representation. In these times we know we as people who survive are neither invincible nor innocent, yet poetry helps us to keep imagining a future tense, an otherwise, "this declaration of my un / -becoming" writes Beltran. Thank you for following this series and supporting this necessary work and testimony. We hope these words will help touch and guide you, "out into new roots".

Read more from 'This Work Will Take Dancing' here.

self-portrait with emerging root system

after the storm, my sister
texts: we live on an island now
her children swimming
down what once was
dry land. the wind had
been a teenager, screaming
against my house,
breaking the illusion
of wall. every day we wake,
the world has ended,
but I still have a body,
burning with something,
swallowing histories as after-
thought, spitting swampland
out into new roots.


Our entertainment / networks vow / we don't / want character / development This / is why / my ex-husband / divorced me: young / -er love(r) This / is why my ex / -love(r) went / back to / his wife The square / root of one / is (always) one / The square root / of two is / irrational I don't / understand formulas, / but I like / even numbers One / can't be / divided evenly / into two / and who knew / math could / make sense / of why / I'm still / single One can / divide any other / number, but one can / -not be acted / upon and di / -vided by any other / number except / itself The con / -nection is / thin, I / know Our / entertainment net / -works vow / we don't / want character / development They / project us, / divide us / into our / -selves until / death do / us switch / off

Some movies don't have happy endings

Dear x, you asked me while we watched La Bamba
why earlier during our fucking I told you I'm going
instead of I'm cumming. I'm trying to come
to an answer in these sheets as Ritchie sings into a receiver
in a red phone booth in the rain. Would the song be
any different if instead of Donna he'd named it Mary or Betty or
Norma or Carmen? Two syllables raveled in a mouth &
suddenly song as someone listens on the other end
of the line. Now you hover close–I'm cumming–a hum
inside my perpetual desert chorus. I look out
the window to watch morning slide up the mountains
as you climb between my thighs: I'm going still
my most desired form of departure, this declaration of my un
-becoming & your body underneath my reel

Andrea Blancas Beltran is from El Paso, Texas. Her work has recently been selected for publication in About Place, A Dozen Nothing, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Fog Machine, Gramma, Pilgrimage, and others. Her chapbook Re- is forthcoming from Red Bird Chapbooks. You can find her at @drebelle.

Originally from central Florida, MJ Santiago is a queer, Mexican-American poet who currently lives and works in New York. Their work has appeared in Reservoir Lit, Heavy Feather Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Their first chapbook, Baby Knife, is available from tenderness yea press.