Dorsia Smith Silva

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how can i give birth to you
when the world is a synonym for virus
my body has no more similes to
have a dialogue with plump synecdoche
caution: i stare at the limbless verses that
wait by the window for the junk mail
summoning that i’ve won a first-class trip to
some island with a private ocean or a free coupon
for a pineapple vanilla soft cone with extra jimmies
i’ll be the welcomed guest that muffles smoke
i’ll count the pennies in my coin purse as a good omen
i’ll whistle a Prince song to be made into something
inside, pictures in the basement that will never be developed
outside, the lost highways that no one will enter
where is a sanctuary of the unborn i do not know


Puerto Rico has a real shitty hand:
the slingshots of hurricanes and earthquakes,
and tossed forward pandemic.
How many ways can La Isla die?
Pick a sidecar poison:
hauling debt like raised exponents,
priming electricity like clippings of hollow pansies,
displacing droughts that squat on shoulders, 
while thumbing through the vectors of patriarchy and colonialism,
as they scrabble kind fiction.
Yet, this is paradise, frame the tourists as they
joyride through the beaches, rum, and Old San Juan. 
Then, they are on a plane, with Puerto Rico in the rear view:
a postcard snap in the memory book.
As if it could be that hands-in-your-pockets easy to summon
the sky and blow out the ruins.


i think that i’m your one
black friend // the one that
you corral into your book
clubs or weekday lunches

like a gesture of shrugged
shoulders // so that you can
cut across the crinoline layers
to crank // see i’m not a

racist because i’m friends
with x // the one that you
chisel with questions //
“why do black people do

this?” // “why do black
people think that?” // 
"have you really experienced
racism?” // as if i could

jumpstart a new season //
where i’m an expert or // a
professor giving a lecture //
the one you flirt with the

n word // nope // that is not
happening // my face
turns a corner // you look
blunted // like you cannot

understand how this word
huddles // infuses with
tragedies // and rings in my
ears like pregnant choking //

the one that you line up
at your barbeque // so that you
have a warm history posted
online // but it’s not necessary

to invite me to your holiday
parties or boat trips // we
disentangle as friends // in
the palest quiet of the word


Dorsía Smith Silva is a Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in several journals and magazines, including Portland Review, Stoneboat, Pidgeonholes, Eclectica Magazine, and elsewhere. She is also the editor of Latina/Chicana Mothering and the co-editor of six books. She is currently finishing her first poetry book.