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N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






In My Perfect Puerto Rico


My gray mother would be

Combing her mother’s white hair

On their turquoise painted porch

Under mango trees

Among hummingbirds


My black grandfather

In the next rocking chair

Happily looking on


My four-foot-eight cousin Sonia

Would be out back

In a wooden shack

Washing clothes

Or running in the garden

Tending to her dogs

She wouldn’t walk with a limp

Wouldn’t be sick

She’d have working kidneys

She’d live past thirty


My father would be hunting

All over this side of the island

With his best friend Angel Rodriguez

For reusable items

Dumped on the lush country side

They would be recycling pioneers


I would have a choice

Of which cousin to visit

We would still be young

And beautiful








We would still be together

And not just old scattered pieces

Of what we once were






[Originally published in NHS 2008, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs08/Nancy_Mercado.htm.]