María, televised

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By: Sarai Prieto Avilés

The entirety of Fall was a eulogy
sung through the branches of trees.
of wind, of whipped and battered asphalt
of rain water, filling basins with that
which filters through the roof
of scarcity––
but what do I know about scarcity?

Instead of scarcity,
mejor te cuento de la ausencia.
of leaving home behind
of seeing loss
televised, crackling on a computer screen
become the subject of discussion in my classrooms
¿de qué me sirve hablar de pobreza en el país que lo engendró?

Y es que aquí no me hace falta nada
and maybe that’s what hurts the most.
that it is a privilege to be here
that it is a privilege for my family to move
into these suburbs
That is it is difficult to speak
of privilege cuando se borra
la línea entre residente y refugiado.

yet . . . I am haunted by guilt.
when each trembling note of the T
is the zinc groan of a building capsized,
when the Chinatown hiss of street grate steam
mimics the fizz of the telephone line
me persigue . . .
es fácil sentirse como alguien que abandona.

y es que ¿nunca te ha pasao’ que un día te levantas
y todas las iguanas muertas de tu patio
se amanecen en tu cama?
¿Nunca te ha pasao’ que un día te levantas
and there are just wooden husks
donde antes habían casas?
A veces salgo de mi dormitorio,
y la acera se desborda como un huevo,
y las venas de los postes se confuden
con bollos de pelo.

What I’m trying to say is this:
If a tree falls en el Yunque a tres mil millas de distancia
the thump will wake me,
frantic, sweating.
The weight of the carambola tree
will crack the roof of my spine
and my will fingers will curl outwards,
remembering,
aching.


Sarai Prieto Avilés is a Puerto Rican poet and activist. They currently reside in Boston as a student of Simmons College. Eventually, they’d like to return to Puerto Rico, and continue to take part en la lucha a bit closer to home.

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The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by La Respuesta. We encourage dialogue, debate, and learning in order to forge stronger, healthier Boricua communities and to strengthen alliances across social differences. 

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