By Ada Ardére
She lies rotting in saltwater that thrashes about white resorts
that in their time and in their place drown out her voice
as it would otherwise be heard begging, pleading, screaming
for the lives of her children as they sit in wards without power,
diabetic comas consuming the elderly and children equally
while Brooks Brothers suit clad Epstein socialite collaborators
avert their eyes from her teary visage in slave-maintained
golf clubs across the sea refusing to acknowledge her
in any way but kicks and spit upon the whore they sell,
upon the bloodied lips and cracked teeth of a mother of millions
without water or food or even the dignity of acknowledgement!
She is remembering for them all the counts and strikes upon their bodies
in the century since forced annexation where experiments
upon illiterate women gave rise to mainland women’s endless fucking and
the cessation of hormonal migraines and acne for little girls in elite schools
who would never see the effects of nuclear testing on her northern coasts,
oh she remembers for them, she refuses to let death or time erase
the millions of hours of modern indentured servitude that her
children were deceived into for the cost of a boat ride to a land
they were already citizens of but still not yet seen as anything
but the dark skinned/too pale inbetweeners of a failed negro kingdom
the lazy, laid-back rapists, thieves of virtue, papists thirsting for jobs!
She is listening to the century long echoed call and response of the tired
cry from Lares whose drone was cannons and drums from
the hearts of those who still remember the Taíno name, to those
as they roar the name of both tormentor and consoler, ¡Maria!,
to the silence of supposed compatriots in congressional halls
whose only gestures are public prayers for miracles they
could manifest themselves in otherwise forgettable acts
of mercy if only they did not reduce her and her people
to lesser than dogs, and she listens to the swelling response:
a beast cannot be made more beastly nor can its cry
be muted as it awakens to the only means that is left to it!
Ada Ardére is a Puerto Rican poet from New Orleans, who now lives in Kansas City. She studied philosophy of art and Plato, and loves beat poetry. Her poems have recently appeared in 34th Parallel Magazine and online in Wussy Mag.
Map of 1863 Puerto Rico from New York Public Library.