after Frank Ocean's Nikes
We make a myth of ourselves. We kneel thick & pray up
river Zemí. You never heard these Gods? Atabex
she rainbowed my river scales, taught me to breathe water.
See how my mouth burns deep down? Wish I looked
Taíno like Sis her brown all quiet ignite. I hued Mama’s low
white sugar but what’s Taíno look like these days? Nike
or Converse, blue bubblegum & verse, queen bed bohío
shade? Sky penthouse or foodbank line, straight shine
or cornrow. They don’t see a prophetic Puerto Rican
princess come queen. They wear slurs behind Pop’s back.
Miss my lip (Say Arawak ) I open my teeth here in the deep,
we mermaid. How they stare at our femme grip & hone. How
our hips spread salt. How they never diamond & truth.
(RIP Jonas B & his gold grill) Mira, we’re never basic, so take
hard tres reglas: We never take photos at the party,
but my love filmed my mouth. What does my guava mouth
look like? They say we siren, we never (Say Mestiza) never
wanted them but they dove in our beauty (Say violación)
sought our howl. Our grief, they didn’t know. Down here
we submerge & race, bespeak touch & afterglow become two
tails & two mouths on two versions. Laid out on wet floor
we suck & prophesize grind. How we make mystic. How they
map water, predict tide. How water makes an island of us.