By Jo Reyes-Boitel

here I am: grafted      from the resilience of a 4’7” matriarch traveling 46 hundred miles to freedom

island sensibilities moated by Texas deserts      mud pies and dark nights     scented in pine

cold Minnesota Septembers

I make my home now in a land of pecan and mesquite.

obligado de cambiar mi idioma de Español to English

my connection to this family history almost destroyed

I was rebuilt by a grandfather who sang uno, dos, tres

I am the struggle of Taino and Carib

sofrito in quimbombo     son montuno and a countryside quajira

The calmness of a deep breath, I am the Malecon, shielding us from rough seas

I am Oya’s daughter, cooled by Obatala’s hand

I am the memory keeper and poet

descended from a bombmaker     revolutionary     welder

I roll the sweetness in my voice and forge myself into being

I carry migration stories in my cellular structure

I am a manifestation of my people

unapologetic liberation

and I’m here to tell you:       I am whole

You are whole

We are whole

Jo Reyes-Boitel : writer, motivator/supporter, mother, daughter to oya and obatala, rabid music listener, percussionist and lover. texas transplant, by way of minnesota | florida | mexico | cuba.