Ode To La Mujer Boricua

our beautiful
isla de Borikén
where you took
your first breath
whose soil supported
your first footsteps
whose winds carried
your first songs of joy
and sadness, struggle
and triumph

La Mujer Boricua

daughters and granddaughters
great granddaughters and
tataranietas and tataratataranietas
of a land that loved you
before your birth because it knew
that no matter what storm lie ahead
YOU would be strong enough
to help us weather it all

when the spaniard colonialistas
arrived decimating our
indigenous peoples
and centuries later
tried to prevent us
from revolting
you joined our men
in the insurrection,
El Grito de Lares

when the yanquí colonizers
came, trying to strip
away our language
you resisted, reminding your children
that aquí se habla español
porque somos Puertorriqueños

then the yanquís
insisted we pledge allegiance to
their flag, you proudly
waved our bonita bandera
instilling that same pride
in your community so that
we would not forget
que somos Borinqueños

when they tried to prevent
your children
from coming to existence
through la operación
forcing thousands of women
on the island to undergo
sterilization procedures
still they could not destroy you

La Mujer Boricua

misplaced and displaced
you arrived
in a land that neither
welcomed nor wanted you
to cities that expected
you to wash away your
Puertorriqueñidad
with ivory soap and water

you found yourself
in places where they’d
say ‘here, we speak english’
and so you, knowing that your
worth was not measured
by ignorant blanquitos
eventually became fluent
forcing your lips to learn
a foreign tongue that tasted
so bitter, so unnatural, so harsh
in your sweet mouth

still your shine would
always remain

La Mujer Boricua

you worked in factories
to feed your families
you labored in hotels as maids
to pay la renta
you went to churches
asking for help to clothe
your children
through it all your smile
your humor, your
hay que echar pa’lante
attitude became an
inspiration to others
reminding us that we are

La Mujer Boricua

resourceful
intelligent
valiente
powerful
determined
preciosa
proud
confident
passionate
realista
adventurous
sassy
capable
kind
loving, loving, ohhh so very loving
we are all of these and so much more

La Mujer Boricua
como tú ninguna

This poem is about: 
My family
My community

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