We – hijas de Boriken – missing self – searching for the I, pero broken.
I think back to my childhood,
the callous hands of the woman who birthed me,
her hands on her face, her back slouched,
The tears that travelled down her cheek.
These days, I see her when I look at my face in the mirror.
Mouth full, eyes tired, belly full of food and fat and the weight of carrying babies.
Sometimes, I take a photo of myself – and a ghost looks back at me.
At night, I kiss my daughter’s mouth while she sleeps,
feel the calm of her breath on my face,
inhale – the smell of baby almost fading. Nena si que crece.
Her hair – all curls –
she begs to not look stupid.
This day – like many others, she tests me.
Hand on hip,
Sometimes, she is all her father, and I.
I remember the tombstone vacant of his name.
Juan – disappearing.
Juan died with the chalk of buildings on his palms,
paint splattered on his jeans,
the Brown of his skin turned ash.
I hardly recall him – except for the scratching of his beard upon my cheek at Abuelita’s funeral.
We, us – Broken with the touch of an I.
What does it mean to be Island walking barefoot on continent?
The wind cold,
the flowers foreign to your nostrils.
Hives, skin goose bumped,
Bones shaking, frio,
Your homeland embodied.
My daughter rebellion,
her words like machetes to my mal-adorned ego caña,
She makes sugar out of me.