Reader Poem—Jennifer Hernandez

Jennifer Hernandez wrote this poem in response to the November Poetry Prompts:


Huaraches across the borderlands or
dinghies on the open sea. Which shall
we choose, people of color — infantilization
or demonization? Migrants. Refugees.
Illegals. Terrorists. The rhetoric bears only
a partial relationship to reality.
Swaddle us and stick a big old plug
in our mouths. Restraint and silence.

You want to know why Latinos
like horror films? Maybe
because we know that kind of scary
is fake. We got enough real. Los narcos.
La inmigrácion checking for papers.
Le deportaron a mi tío. His baby girl cries
herself to sleep. Hatemongers splash venom
like red paint. Why can’t they see that the rapists
are the pinche coyotes that steal our money
and leave us in the desert?

So the Day of the Dead dances on.
Esquéletos draped in marigolds spin
clackety-clack before altars to the music of mariachi
and banda. If we stop dancing, we’re already dead.


Reader Poem — Jennifer Hernandez

Jennifer Hernandez wrote this poem in response to the October Poetry Prompts:

I never thought Michiko would come back
after she died

Bobbed hair glistening black,
pedicure blood red. Some ghost. Five inches
of air between the stoop and her Jimmy Choo’s
gave her away. “Hey, Michi-chan,” I croaked,
“What’cha doing back here?? I thought –”
“Don’t say his name,” she warned, her raspy
voice from inside a black hole. Talk about
conspicuous omission. He was the reason
for this strange encounter, Michiko hovering
over the front steps and me sprawled out
in the gutter, blood and sewage a-swirl.

He couldn’t stand our friendship, always
wanted Michiko for himself. Ironic,
self-absorbed as he was. I told her
to dump him. He was too into himself.
Would never care about anyone else.
The first three steps are the acceptance
steps, they say, but Michi-chan wasn’t
interested in acceptance. She was interested
in revenge, and since no one can be slain
in absentia, she planned to find him
and drown him. In his own reflection.

Reader Poem — Jennifer Hernandez

Jennifer Hernandez wrote this poem in response to the September poetry prompts:

Eva does the Cha Cha

Her lithe arms writhe
with extreme snakes.
Tattoos swirl green
& brown like vines,
but serpentine.

In one arm her baby dangles,
screeches, promise unfulfilled,
while the other arm extends,
plucks manzanita
ripe & red.

Tart crunch of knowledge on her lips,
she undulates her snakes & hips.
Garden cha cha lulls her babe,
who suckles on
the juice of sin.