Puerto Rican Haikus 

by Nicole Arocho Hernández


My throat is the plat
form for a country with no 

My throat is the plat
eau for a homeland drenched in

My throat is the plat
ter for an empire with no 



How lucky to be
an explosive, no more than 
an expletive from 

the president’s mouth— 
en la boca del lobo 
ticking down to sing 

how US likes it—
with solemn screaming, mouth 
bombing the nuclear 

test: can you say
without sparking 
a flood in your chest— 

to breathe their same air 
while swimming across a sea 
of rot desire 



I have no more than
four words to my name and my 
name’s not one of them 

I am a poet 
carrying time under tongue— 
unnamed, unlike is 

land Puerto Rico
the violence of naming 
against soil’s will 

Rich port / which poet 
can capture le lo le lo 
a portal to 

seeing / knot of me 
mory constellating each 
body a gift a grief 

Seventy-eight stars
in our mouths / we are born 
incandescent, crowd 

ed light until scratched 
ancestral, spoilt abc’s 
staining us crimson— 

If I kissed the sea
with enough fervor, could I 
forget English could 

I forget my name
could I only remember
shame blame thirst first burst—

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