Sobrevivientes Poem

Sobrevivientes Poem

by Bonafide Rojas


i am a body
that has been 
filled with other
people’s memories

i am carrying jesus
st. jude & a rosary
from someone else prayer

i am filled with music & sound
my mouth has a wind chime in it
my hands have salsa in it
tapes & cd’s crushed into my palm

my legs have the echo of children’s laughter

i keep it inside their toys for later
i know they’ll come looking for them
the trucks, the joy, the dinosaurs

i have so many photos underneath
my eyelids,

they are all me

from the ocean damaged ones
to the mall framed ones
i am both a little boy & older woman

both of us standing still in time
waiting for the ocean water soaked 
cameras to click & flash & capture us
save that moment for later

i have a quatro in my chest,
split in half
detuned & damaged, no strings
holding me together,

I'm not sure I'm talking 
about the quatro or me

my back has a picture painted
of la perla that was once owned
by albizu campos

i will always treasure 
even when the colors have faded

i am every name
every word
dressed in red
from a to zeta
there is ocean water
spouting from 
every gash on
my body

i am still
waiting for help

my stomach is filled
with fema food pouches
high in sugar
which fights my medication

which i can only take with food
to fight my sugar levels

i should be grateful for eating
but i’ve been fighting with
my body for so long

i am filled with toy soldiers 
& baseball caps
i am not even sure i own it anymore

i have been a prize

a first place medal
a grand champion trophy
but also a footnote in
another country’s encyclopedia

pero i am seventy eight pueblo strong
from aibonito to yauco
even new york city & chicago

i am hoping someone can see 
my S.O.S. written on the floor 
from high above before 
the rain washes it away again

my neighbors help
cook me meals
fix the roads
rebuild towns
things that politicians
in power should’ve done
should’ve had a plan of action for

instead they’re leaving supplies
in containers to rot
while they tour the states 
for televised face time

i am this body

this beautiful body
that has had
12,000 pieces of me die

i am still standing here
in the middle of this hurricane
with parts of me committing suicide
because apathy is a tidal wave

& my body has taken everything

all the coverage, the propaganda 
the inquiries, the studies, the speeches, 
the studies, the speeches 
& i have been been filled with 
other people’s memories
other people’s prayer
& other people’s hope

& i’m standing here

wrapped in a blue tarp.