The Concrete Island

my papi and I took a soul trip home
and Borinken opened her arms
and kissed our brown skin
we were running from the ice
that had turned into a cage of
despair and homesickness

we walked on the sand at Playa Ocho
and embraced Yemaya
as if she had been calling for us to return
for our own sake

papi took me to Caguas
where he grew up, sleeping with cockroaches
on a dirty floor
he took me to the bodega where we bought azabaches
to protect us from evils

but no azabache or Santero could protect our island
from greedy white hands that
wanted more roads
more hotels
more casinos
my papi gazed at a four way intersection
and tears brimmed his eyes
“this is where my home used to be”
he said to me

and I looked at the mountains
where the jibaros live
and saw McDonald’s and Subway
like a gaping wound that will
take lifetimes to heal
la isla bonita
the concrete island
that we call home

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