Animals: “If you string your dreams together they create another reality” by Teri Vela

If you string your dreams together they create another reality

After Jamaal May



I don’t want to have skin // touch skin // always // looking at someone else’s hand // wanting to outplay them // wanting a forest // beyond this one // one where the body hasn’t changed // The winds // beyond recognition // where the earth stops. // It’s a place // I am getting to // but never have the map // outline so clearly // what I am. // If it does // it ceases to be a map // is now // the thing itself // I want to see // just myself for once // with no overlapping // other.


In my next life // I want to come back as a jaguar // and maul a man // for sport. // This may not take my next life. // Everyone will think how beautiful // —dangerous—
I am. // Witches will pray to me // and take my movements // as omens. // I will come to myself // in a dream and drink me // in the mirror // muscular water // rippling // frightening focused eyes // telling myself don’t stop // tear until there’s nothing left.


Looking at someone else’s hand // as a jaguar // I maul a man. // Everyone will think how dangerous. // Never have the map. // Witches pray // my omen. The thing I want to see // in a dream // is me // singing I am something new // I am something new // I am something new.

About Teri Vela

Teri Vela's Headshot

Teri Vela (she/her) is a latinx queer poet, witch, mother, and former lawyer, born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada (Southern Paiute traditional lands). Her publications include poetry in Gordon Square Review, Witch Craft Magazine, The Seventh Wave Magazine, and others. She is a reader for Split Lip Magazine and a contributing editor with The Seventh Wave. Her poetry explores justice, reality, mental health, and leaving an unleavable place. She will be starting Warren Wilson’s low residency MFA program as a Holden Scholar in 2022.