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Ochún’s Child


It was Ochún/   that held  witness to my child/  drowning/ she pulled  me  from river/ grabbed my wildness/ of tangle & took/ me from its grip/ every night/ I placed round river/ stones against my bare/ chest in the quiet/ top-bunk cherry/ Each night river/ stones sank/ shining Ochún stole them/ back—but I didn’t know/ it was her/ Ochún/ dismayed at empty whiskey bottles/ hidden/ by Ma’s husband/ Ochún collected two sisters/ a lock of fingers & dive / We laced seaweed crowns/ played Hail Mary/ with the fisherman’s/ tongue/ Ochún caught my tears when  he threatened asylum/  when he threatened to lock/  me away &/ my tears  frightened him more  than a gun/  Ochún pushed  his shoulder/ back/  with her palm/  rocked/ me when Ma couldn’t/ Said hush now/ soon/ She promised each night/ When Ochún howled/ he heard nothing— but/ the river go silent/ Sis slung on my back/ we pushed splintered/ toes to dock/ & learned that holding our breath/ allowed us to float/ further down/ river/ But we were careful never to float/ out too far/ only practicing/ until we were ready/ our lips blue/ Ochún held my hand once/ pointed downriver/ Said: That is the way to my sister/ to her mouth/ Go




Don’t you wanna roll with a                ?

       After MINE


Women up on  yur Instagram &  us in a  dream. Don’t you wanna  roll with a  good girl? Porter Ray fingers his  baby  mustache,  says he’s  going to  pyramid in  México, says he’s going  to smoke pulque.  He  looks South  & the  wall opens.  Buried  MINES detonate. A  queen stands  at yur door, her  pout neon.  What  survival  looks like shifts  &  is  more  than  the closing  of  wound.  These  are just  the little things.  Marriage a  colonial  grind,  good girls  called putas  & jailed  in San  Juan.  Mira, it comes  down to this:  I  don’t want  to be  wife if love  means own,  if love  means my  queen grills me on la  boxeadora, if  she burns  my stack of  cream back  from the  club,  pulls my  braids  around her wrist, &  cuts  into my  own skin.  I had  the tattoo  before  love,  lived in  the park at  the end  of the Avenue.  All  that  damp  rolled  back  into my  smoke & I  breathed it  back out,  survival a  mouthful  of Milky  Way.  Porque soy  bruja,  porque  soy  loca  pa  ti, porque  soy tuya.  Survival  is Jack licking a swisher & talking backward & then forward at three times the speed cuz his spit is honey.  He speaks  that fast  & raps  faster.  Jack on  the edge of  my bed after I take the morning-after-pill from his cousin & suicide  wets my mouth.  Jack won’t leave  until the poison  leaves my body. When I go over yur studio, I don’t stop cuz survival is asking for more than five  minutes, choosing  conversation  over fuck  with,  as in  I don’t  fuck with  your  syndicate.  The queen  outside is cold,  she looks like me,  but doll.  Porque soy  bruja, porque no  uso mestiza,  porque soy  loca pa ti, porque  no soy tuya.  I kiss the  queen’s knuckle, tell her she’s bruja. She becomes pyramid & smoke. I forget to tell you, we make a coven of three.







Sarah Maria Medina is a poet and a fiction/creative non-fiction writer from the American Northwest. Her writing has been published in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Midnight Breakfast, PANK, Split This Rock, Raspa Literary Journal, and elsewhere. She is an ARTISTS UP Grant LAB recipient for her poetry manuscript in progress "Ochun's Daughter," and a finalist in Indiana Review's 2015 Poetry Prize. She is also the poetry editor at Winter Tangerine. Medina is Boricua of m/ixed heritage (The United Confederation of Taíno People). She is at work on several projects. @LaHurakan