La Isla

Kat Seidemann

Today I would like to say | some things about Puerto Rico | I would start with words like Colonialism Repression Monoculture | Sterilization and Devastation | I could mention Crime and Poverty Corruption and lack of representation | I could use Atlantis as a fitting metaphor | In a more sentimental mood I might | espouse the beauty of its flora and fauna | of soft sand beaches and clear jewel-toned waters | of verdant mountains harboring tales | far older than Columbus | of blue cobblestone streets weighted with history | Next I might speak of a people who applaud | when their planes touch down safely on tarmac | who paint their wrought iron embellished homes | no matter how humble | in glimmering sherbet colors | who themselves come in a rousing variety of hues | I would talk about my abuelita’s pride and my mother’s rejection of our culture | while humming songs from West Side Story under my breath | I could tell you of missing three Aguadilla boarding calls | due to the sound of my German surname | spoken by mouths accustomed to romance | In jest I might mention rainforest cockroaches the size of apple pies | and roads that only lead to one place | how making a wrong turn means backtracking to where you started | perhaps a fitting suggestion for Puertorriqueños I could tell you of the time a glossy travel magazine | featured a photograph of La Perla without a hint of irony | I should remind you that Puerto Ricans are citizens of the United States who pay | fight and die for the country | but cannot vote for its leader | Today I would like to say these things and more | History tells me no one will listen

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