FANGO – Three Poems – by Jennifer De La O

I. Child

trail against    skin,
small and
small and
under piles ofblankets
do  not  see  me
do  not  see  –!

II. Morning

abuelita’s cafetera steaming
creeps inside my nose
and walter calls
mucho, mucho amor-
I smell a
cigarette outside my window
outside me,     so close-
she calls up the stairs:
time  to   start  again

III. On the Bus

andonthegraytheresmoldyblackuntilwegettomy   favorite:
bright yellow  and teal
and magenta
and here
Are those clouds? Is that the sun?
the driver smells like listerine and
fried onions  and
 not  cigarettes!
we wait   too     long
to say       goodbye
when  i   get  off  the  bus.


Note: These three poems are part of a larger collection that centers directly on a sense of place: Hialeah, Florida. The poet’s childhood, in this immigrant community just outside Miami, provided the images, scents, sounds, and texture in these poems. Hialeah’s unofficial slogan is ‘agua, fango y factoria,’ (water, mud and factories), thus the collection’s title. Rockvale Review is pleased to publish this excerpt.


Jeni De La O’s Biographical Statement: In 1932 winds carried a woman from Santiago to Jamaica and from Jamaica to Queens. She married and had a daughter, who had a daughter. In 1992 those same winds pushed that daughter’s daughter from Miami to Michigan, where she writes poetry and short stories about warm waters and personal catastrophe.