Poem by Angelica Esquivel
Helen Rodríguez Trías asked a question in 1970.
She asked it in San Juan, in California, in places
by the ocean populated by people who look
like us: black hair, black eyes. Our ancestors,
she remembered, were astronomers. They charted
the skies, believed that black holes
were the source of all life.
The U.S. courts called the forced sterilization of
one third of all Puerto Rican women
a cultural misunderstanding.
Helen Rodríguez Trías stood before the judges,
these people who didn’t look like her, and asked
a question, a life-giving one:
What have you done?