I wonder what he has been thinking

After all of these years.

The man in the suit

With his back turned to me.

What was the chance that he’d find himself

Perched on the edge of that stool,


By the Nighthawk painter

Who was up a bit too late

A plant in a box that can never grow.

Encased behind a glass edifice

He was locking on the corner of that street.

Was he thinking of a life to which he’d never return?

The apologies he’d give to his wife,

The jokes he’d tell his friends,

The excuse he’d give his boss.

Never again would he see the sun

As it rose and fell

Over the lazy rolling

Peaks of the city skyline.

The night was absolute

His fate was final

On the corner of that street,

Where cigars were only 5 cents apiece,

His life became a two-way mirror

And the only side he could see

Was his reflection in the salt shaker.

Hands glued in a spinning crowd

              One by one it grows less loud.

Together in unison, they chant.

              Memories of voices you can’t supplant.


Skipping, hopping, even walking

              Adults sit in black, barely talking.

We have a lifetime to say goodbye

              Yet still, the distance makes us cry.


“We all fall down,” says the verse

              One by one we all disperse

The beginning of mourning, what we lost

              Forgetting for a moment what it cost


Falling down in a giggling heap

The game starts over and up we leap




No one makes rice like my mami.

She cooked like a deadly sensei from the Caribbean.

A once a week culinary masterpiece,

Other foods lose their reason.


No one makes rice like my mami.

She held her cuchara like a composer,

A graceful melody of strings and gandules

The harmonies bringing my nose in closer.


No one makes rice like my mami.

She watched the pot so the arroz doesn’t burn.

A craft so meticulous

I lean in hoping to learn.


No one makes rice like my mami.

She gripped me tight as I was pressed to her chest.

A moment of penetrating melancholy,

I’ve left her with an empty nest.




I don’t remember my death

But I remember my life.

The sounds the gallinero every morning

Ringing with allegria as the sun graced the sky

On the island of la Republica Dominicana.

I remember the way mi papi held my face

So tight.

His hands calloused

Scared from a lifetime

of cultivating our land.

Back then that was all you could do.

“Oh Minerva Mirabal” he’d say

He knew, as he held my small face

That I would do more.

I was destined for more, I just didn’t know.

I remember going to school in my uniform.

Cramming my brain with law books,

Until my head resembled

a bookshelf in the libraria.

I never got to practice law,

But I knew our rights

And I knew that this was not right.

We were a people living in fear

Under that enormous weight of tyranny,

I would do anything

For the nation

For the people

For my family.

“It is a source of happiness

to do whatever can be done for our country

that suffers so many anguishes.

It is sad to stay with one’s arms crossed.”


Dedicated to the Maribal Sisters. Without their bravery, my country would be lost.

As if by magic the world is transformed and  doused in what we call

“The Christmas spirit”

Where does this magic come from?

Is it in the bright bulbs that decorate the trees?

Or is the secret concealed up the man in red’s sleeves?


Where it came from, or where it goes

The mystery that no one knows.

But they say

Its hidden away

In the glow of the child’s eyes who still believes



Cascading waterfall of light.

Fill my empty cup 

So that I may drink. And warm

It is 

that light that fills my soul. 

There was a glow about that light 

Brilliantly speckled about 

With a smell of jasmine flowers. 

And so I drank.

It tastes sweet, like honey 

it oozes down, leaving 

A tingle on my tongue.

The heat moves down my spine and I feel  

The warmth raising goosebumps my on my arm. 

Dazed and distracted, the cup falls 

and shatters,

The sound tickling my ears, and I fall on glass

With Jasmine Flowers lingering on my lips. 


I the remember the light. 

Dull and gray, 

She spoke out of the left side of her mouth. 

Spilling tea out of her right. 

But she couldn’t speak 

Because of the smoke in her lungs. 

Thick was the fog 

Plainly oozing of confusion, 

Why would flower petals give paper cuts. 


The forest walls will close 

And the ground will swallow me whole. 

Speaking, whispering “babe,

Ven encuentrame.”

The jealous syllables will play

At the edge of my ear. 


Light pours and spills over the edge, 

Too much for one cup to contain



© 2018 by Lorien Pereyra