Yesterday didn’t feel like Navidad as I traveled

through the stratosphere, seven miles in the air,

navigating two worlds.


Christmas dawn, a hammer pounding concrete

startled me from sleep, an aguacero let loose

turning blue Borinquen skies to gray.


Rainfall amplified the coquis’ call,

cicadas added their trill, and the day danced

to Atabey’s song.


Island climate is a carousel —

el cielo escampó, the sky sang turquoise

while the sun hummed harmony.




Boxing Day, I wake to Oakland’s quiet chill,

a lone robin chirping, muted by glass,

raindrops swirling on the window.


Close to the Central Valley, Salad Bowl of the World,

my morning goal — fill my fridge with greens —

lettuce can be luxury in San Juan.




Island-grown produce takes tortuous treks to the table.

Santa Isabel’s tomatoes breathe Caribbean air until picked

and sent across the sea to the States.


There, the auburn globes are put in crates and shipped

back to Puerto Rico’s SuperMax and FreshMart

for consumers who scrape thin billfolds to buy.


This is the shape of colonialism in a shopping cart —

ricocheted tomatoes, Kellogg’s corn flakes,

pink-cheeked Santas & snow-flecked pines.


This is domination spooned like sugar in our coffee

and the dulces the alcaldes throw from their cars

to kids on the corner at Navidad.


Outside the supermarket, a white-haired woman

bangs a ladle on a soup pot, shouts ¡Basta ya! ¡Basta ya!

And the coquis loudly sing the chorus.