Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2022  Vol. 21  No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview

Diasporican Interview from the Moon
after Juan Antonio Corretjer

¿Eres borincano aunque nacieras en la luna?

From this far away, I can’t even see
Puerto Rico, swallowed by the blue
of the ocean. From this far away,
the word volver loses all meaning.
The word patria becomes an empty echo
floating out into space. Can you claim
to know a homeland only from dreams?
It’s impossible to pick out
una sola estrella from the countless
that populate this endless sky.

When you populate an endless sky,
it’s easy to lose track of any cultura
or lineage. I play Dad’s old records
and don’t pretend I can trace a map back—
old plenas from Canario and Maelo
can’t act as breadcrumbs when there is
no back for you. No need to act like
you can ride a soundwave through the dark
of space and into the Caribbean.
To pretend that landscape remembers you,

to pretend you remember any landscape
other than these seas of gray. I rename
the maria after all the heroes I know—
Albizu, Fernández, Filiberto, Lolita.
I fry chuletas in a moon crater pan,
smash my plátanos in a moon crater
pilón. They don’t taste the same here,
but, coño, haven’t we always made do?
Haven’t we always adapted, decided
being Puerto Rican was whatever we needed?

Maybe I don’t need to be borincano.
Maybe being Lunarican is enough for me.
The other day I walked around loosing
every American flag I could find. And if
a moon rover finds me?—¡que se joda!
You can’t tell me there’s anything
more Puerto Rican than that, letting American
flags fly off like plastic bags in the wind,
tumbling off without a land to claim,
letting them float so far away, you can’t see them.  

return to top