“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
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
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
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.
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,
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 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.