for Dzvinia Orlowsky

When I die, I want Papi’s boleros in air. Quémame con su canción.
You say, I burn you with my voice. I say, bésame con tu canción.

After Papi’s death, 8 songs are growing in my throat. His orphan’s
ache lives in the cuatro chords you play. Tócame esa canción.

1989. To love you again, I sell my violin, fly 3,000 miles. We forget
our mother tongues, our bodies, one. Ámame con nuestra canción.

From “Silvertone”: “Father’s reaching deep/fingers stretched
into seventh chord/to find his soul.” Dzvinia, llórame esa canción.

Mami says she left her first love in Manatí, refused to share his body.
Papi’s bass chords stateside, new spiritual balm. Sáname con tu canción.

Twenty-one stories up, your colibrí kisses before & after. You want
to meet my son. I refuse. Bury this now. Entiérrame con esa canción.


From Destierro Means More than Exile (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018) by María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado. Copyright © 2018 by María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado. Used with the permission of the author.