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I. on the street

a white rocking chair for two
sullied and weary
like the silver of old heads
to pacify the cries of the baby
a rusted bike
pale pink with plastic blue fish on the wheels
the serenity of girlhood and the abandonment of its ways
to secure the freedom i was forbidden as i grew older
a small wooden cabinet
to hold the piece of land we don’t stand on anymore
the one we left behind like citrus rinds
whose winds and rains do not touch our necks or arms

II. at the marketplace

red tomatoes
earth’s rubies
memories of the new world
canned sardines from abroad
and the water that once fed the tomatoes,
they once swam in
the world ocean is a moody mother
but she cradles us in her atlantic arms
even if sometimes she is freezing and her teats are bitter
banana leaves, cloves, chocolate
purple corn, white corn, potatoes— all guests of honor to our feasts
one candle of jesús and maría
a dollar each
the fruits of our brothers’ and sisters’ toil
what keeps us living and bleeding

III. in each home we lived

those invisible things that cannot be touched
once, a demon with a large head
sanctuary from the outside that does not touch us because we are among the fortunate
the foundations of the all american hands that built those floors and walls
and the feeling of nothing belongs to us
not the hammers or the nails or the beams
not the furnishings or carpets or walls
in our first apartment, two mattresses
four stuffed animals

Picture a small girl
Not yet seven years
She hides behind her hair
Her belly tender
Her eyes glassy
There is a mirror wherever she goes
Inside the mirror a strange mass
She hides from mirrors
She hides from the mass
Until she is so small no one knows she is there


The room
Wooden beams
Carpeted floor
An empty room
Like an empty bell, without a sound
She does not see behind the door is a silver mirror
Behind the mirror is a window to crawl into the outside
Where the sun waits to see her
She is scared of the mass
But the mass lives inside her belly


Outside the air smells floral
There are those who peer at the girl
Who has two strong legs and arms
A small face they like to see when it peers from the inside
A mouth pink but shut
The eyes like rich amber where the light pours in
They bring her many flowers
They give her some of the ocean
They want her to come to the outside
One day she sticks her arm out
But the mass inside her belly teeming with fear vibrates  
The mass does not know
Because the mass just does
It tells her she will stay in the room
She will be only half a girl
And the other half can be seen sometimes by the sun and the others
But the two halves are not equal
They look different
They can’t exist together


Months pass and the seasons too
The mass is inside her belly
It grows and sleeps
It spreads into her chest
Her throat
Her head
The others forget
The others see the girl but they tire of waiting
When will she see us, our eyes
And hear our words
They ask themselves


The girl ascends
Under her arm is a small animal
Black like midnight without a face
It scatters and runs away
The girl remains
The skin is new and it burns under the sun
The others circle around her
They give her a crown of flowers
She does not hide
She does not beg
She drinks from the same source
And she is two equal parts
the earth is at this meeting point again
around the sun just like last spring
yellow red orange
i put you inside a small box
and took you out to sea to sink
i made you into a dream to slumber upon
your body was a far away constellation
but spring comes again
and you are green inside of me like it was yesterday that i cradled your head on my *****
yesterday when you touched me for the first time in front of the sea,
and i said touch me there again
will you always live inside of me
i will always let you in
you will stay for tea for an hour
maybe two
and i will always give myself to you
be all knowing and quiet
your words, they matter
they are different because you say them
they are bold because you write them
the world has sheltered you
and now it is awaiting to watch you stand with two strong legs
with one voice, true
like how orange trees will do what they are meant to do
like clouds hold in the rain for too long until they tear
something inside you wants to be known
take it out into the sun to dry like seeds
sow them, thrive
countries only exist in your mind
and few things that can end you are real
soar birdlike over walls
through fences
migrate freely for miles
taste different seas
shine ruby red
if you are to die do it well
it is your time in the sun:
speak, toil
and when the time comes,
only after you have been drunk in,
burn white like an ancient star,
the first of a new constellation
olor de tierra
tu piel contra la mía
me aluminas
y me alimentas
tus axilas huelen a café
a las entrañas de un árbol
a tierra húmeda
tu pecho, la madre luna
tus ojos, el mar oscuro
tu piel color de canela
y yo la flor en tu cabello *****
it is a most delicate thing
this soft flesh
this pink brain
like a red string sewed into fabric
and the tenderness of white lace
covering folded hands and dainty necks
or in the silence before an infant’s head is
dipped inside the pool of baptism
cleansing them from nothing
being the center of nothing
Mi amor como el oceano es      
Porque va y viene como la ola en la orilla
Se envuelve en ese abismo azul y se forma como un cuerpo espumoso que se para en un instante,
Cómo se enflorecen los valles de pronto en la primavera,
Y se derrumba al final de su transcurso en la orilla
Es el como las olas en la noche
Negras como el cielo estrellado
Se desenvuelven y se abren en esa oscuridad antigua
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