After twenty years in the mainland
Mother’s gone back to the Island
to let her skin
melt from her bones
under her native sun.
She no longer wears stockings,
girdles or tight clothing.
Brown as a coconut,
she takes siestas in a hammock,
and writes me letters that say:
“Stop chasing your own shadow, niña
come down here and taste the piña
put away those heavy books,
don’t you worry about your shape,
here on the Island men look
for women who can carry a little weight.
On every holy day,
I burn candles and I pray
that your brain won’t split
like an avocado pit
from all that studying.
What do you say?
Abrazos from your Mamá and a blessing
from that saint, Don Antonio, el cura.”
I write back: “Someday I will go back
to your Island and get fat,
but not now, Mama, maybe mañana.”
About this poem
This poem, representing Puerto Rico, is part of The Written World – our collaboration with BBC radio to broadcast a poem from every single nation competing in London 2012.