“Happy With You”

It’s so simple, amor mio.

Bird calls in the morning on the roof. Do you hear them? Tropical dives from tree to tree, how the sun casts our shadows elongated in

the shimmering winter heat.

Green tea, while we gaze out over mountains and make plans to visit


Abuela at the fogón reminding me butterflies died for freedom from oppression.

How I am a butterfly,

and a blessing. How her grandson’s eyes light up when he speaks of his heart. And how you changed his mind about


We climb,

out the valley of betrayal, to dig the yuca for our cena. Everyone works here. There is no free meal amongst these women, black and brown and

Strong rationing

frijoles y huevos into separate baskets to be delivered to


There are tres familias

Out of work,

Out of home,

From a family a couple years short of


To a land they would not know. And a language that has been forgotten.

The rudimentary kreyol his mom remembers,

From her father,

Killed by Trujillo.

It’s getting worse…

As I try to understand all his words.

“No Rapido!” Which is incorrect, and he laughs at my excellent accent.

The way his tongue enters my mouth, to silence my talking

The skill of his kiss.

large hands on my waist as I look up at him.

The way he grabs my smaller one when I trip. The way he speaks of his kids and his daughter’s

negrita magic.

The day his prima kicked his ass for suggesting she’s not black. All those years ago

Black like me,

his morena negra. His reina. His


The way he undoes my ponytail, so my hair can stand


There are no shoes on our feet.

the guayabera he takes off so his brown skin


The machete he carries to peel the mangos he shook down with a forked stick.

we will eat. One piece for him,

One for me.

His expert

skills at peeling chunks of flesh offering the dull side of the blade, for a


the rio we will swim in later on that day,

In Darkness.

His silly boleros.

His laughter at my shame for singing to me,

words he’s made up that mean nothing but

Te amo. Yo quiero ti en mis brazos. Solamente, y por


The visa.


The gringo bombing of his island

The poem I pull out my pocket, that I read softly.

The voice that’s for him

in words he barely understands. His funny English accent and his lack of the verb “to be”. The way I correct his Grammar like he has asked of me,


His perfect teeth.

His full full lips.

The thickness of it all.

His shoulders I can ride on. His kids who just arrived, coming to find us.

And how we walk back towards the compound,

With our yuca. And sticky faces, smelling like earth, and wind and sun.

One family.

One love.