In Between

No soy un lenguaje secreto with lips pressed against your neck. I sweep up goosebumps con la lengua de una bruja, worshiping each hitch arrastrando hacia el sur until I take in a hymn, mi boca envuelta en el hechizo de tu virilidad —another passage pressed to knees, llevando la memoria de tu piel.

_ Originally published in Satin Soulbits, 2019

Poster Child of Magdalene

Love does not want this body, this falsehood looking for resurrection in eyes that reflect her as altars. Love wants the classic centerfold, not the poster child of the Magdalene complex with numerous notches in her inbox. Love has been deceived by smudges across the screen, the pretend of desire grown by distance. If Love moved closer, Love would see that this body houses nothing but fiction and their story will eventually end. No one falls for the one already on their knees.

_ Originally published in Satin Soulbits, 2019


On the anniversary of your expulsion / I visit the church for a mixture of penance / and breath, offering a streak of grief / over the station of flames of the Madonna Della Strada / The moment I enter, I see the crimson mouths of the idols / passion-tide veils to cover the sorrows of the mother I renounced / as a practice and a title / despite memorizing the grainy shape of a heartbeat I couldn’t keep / out of desperation / I was raised out of desperation and my back still curves in habit / of being my mother’s crutch / I refused to hit repeat while my axis was still trying to find / how to balance the damage / I refused to bear a circumstance instead of an altar / of love between bounds of flesh that have grown away from each other / I loved you, but I worshiped fear and fear / told me the currency of a half-love with the seed that formed you / equals a death I didn’t want to form in the flesh / better to drain you into crimson before you formed hands / that would touch my rib cage and pull me into forever / tethered to all the ways I would disappoint you / I loved you as I sat with pills pressed to the side of my cheeks / the choice of a prolonged ruin over the stirrups of a empty-handed standard procedure / I cried over porcelain blemished / with the eyes you'll never form / On the first anniversary I sat / pulling the skin on the back of my hands / the second, you met your grandfather in a zion I am / too numb to enter / and now I kneel in front of the covered face of la madre unbosoming / a grief I don't have permission to claim _ Originally published in War Crimes Against the Uterus, 2019

Generations: La Familia


he watched his father weaken the land of his mother over bowls of arroz y gandules.

he slapped her face she slapped sazón, both tenderizing alimento para los niños.

my father only did what he was taught, open palm against my mother

giving her money to cook a pernil.


she watched her mother as she spoke to the cops stopping by on Atlantic Avenue.

él es un hijo de puta trampa y voy a cortarle.

knives narrowly missing pops head as she watched saturday morning cartoons,

waiting for afternoon where mr. softee granted credit for a tribe of eight.

she'll visit him in the land of coqui and scorpions years later, remembering how he narrowly missed a knife.

she will not ask him to rescue her from creatures as she stands her ground, shaking with the kitchen knife.

her mother knew in San Juan, the cowards will keep on crawling.


she was scared to scribe all the tragedy, kept it locked in her head.

she watched him beat her both eyes swollen shut after she sent chairs swinging in curses.

her pen is her path to their histories they foolishly put in a child of ten.

they did not teach her spanish, so she snuck it in as a ghost at kitchen tables.

grandmothers with tongues of swords swiftly retold tragedies in an alphabet she struggled to master,

thinking la nena would never learn patterns if she was a little more gringa instead of boriqua,

never realizing that she squeezed herself between the muñecas and rocking chair

soaking in flailing hands and broken hearts to skipping needles of Hector Lavoe and Celia Cruz.

years later her late night feelings boiled down to everything she learned from home sweet home,

the only prayer she can roll off her tongue as she shook with the possibility of history repeating:

dame la fuerza para encontrar un beso en este mundo. _ Originally published in A Thing Of Beauty Painted By Words, 2013 and reprinted in She Will Speak Series: Gender Based Violence Anthology, 2019