The Andes mountains

are etched in my bones

the carvings tingled

as I walked among them.

They sang

an ancestral song

and my heart

knew her words.

When I laid on the grass

in Machu Picchu

listening to the ground

it whispered

revealing my past life.

the majestic silhouette


whenever my eyelids


A memo

To my fellow teachers

Reading rosters

with names that

don’t roll off the tongue

the names that require

extra thought

extra effort and

the respect to be pronounced correctly

there’s always

an Appreciation

for the attempts

And there’s always a story

mine is of a soap opera

a Gypsy in love with a naval officer

the story of how


Makes a j

Sound in

Spanish class

the only teachers

who could say it

without hesitation

my five-year-old self

changed my name to Sonia

while visiting Perú

because it made more friends

This for the names

that don’t appear on

souvenir cups


or shirts

My student told me

most of my teachers

can’t say my name and it’s OK

and I told her no

they need to just say it

no matter how many times it takes.

An alluded request

Write me lines

like Neruda

Write about an invincible love

that all of nature knows,

how it conspires

to help us blossom

Write your lines

on my body

Do to me

what spring does with the cherry trees

my bones will store our secrets

Write 100 sonnets

inspired by our




Write odes about

my laughter



Write about our bond

that when my eyes close

They’re with your dreams

Escríbeme en español

porque sabes que es

la única lengua

que mi alma entiende ***


so our spirits can


across distance and time

Write me these lines

and I’ll love you without pride

Without questioning

where, how or when

Write these lines with your actions

Because I write lines too

Don’t want to spend nights

writing the saddest verses

like I have before

feeling the weight of your absence

because loving someone

is short

But to forget them

is so


***Write to me in Spanish

because you know

that it’s the only language

my soul understands


Surfing the crimson waves
Seeing bright red
Purple red clots
And brown
Between my panties

Periods are full
Of irony

My belly bloats
As if
I’m 3 months pregnant
except I’m not

My breasts swell
Like they have milk
But they don’t

Niagara Falls

Blood clots
Like thick
Except the gross kind

Tracking my period
Taking Motrin
Praying I took it
Early enough
It’ll cause goosebumps
And feel like an iron fist
And lets go of my uterus

I’ve never understood
My body tortures me
For not having a baby
If and when
I have a baby
It’ll just get
Tortured in a
Different way

And all I can do
Is sit here in my
Crying for no reason
Hating my boyfriend
Annoyed by his breathing
But knowing that
He’s seen my blood
And didn’t runaway
So he’s a keeper

Riding a rollercoaster
Of emotions
Because of mood swings.

My monthly bill
Has come
Deciding between
Or cup
Costing me money
To control bleeding
That has a mind of it’s own

I paid
The cashier
He wished me
A good weekend
Both knowing
It wouldn’t be
For me

Staining everything
That’s why you have
Period underwear
On reserve
Memories of failed attempts
At having sex
Stained towels
All to messy
For my taste

It’s sometimes
Like that uninvited family member
That overstays its welcome
But brings a good gift

Grateful that I’m bleeding
And have no baby
But sadness for those
Trying to have a baby

Periods smell
I splash every crevice
Out of paranoia
To not let the world

But maybe I do
Instead of giving
The typical how are you

Maybe I’ll just answer
By reading this poem
And politely
Ask for chocolate
If they’d like me
To stop

The woman scientist said PMS
Isn’t real
Wants a career
In politics
Because periods are a weakness

Every month
I show up to work
Wearing black
Forgiving Clothing
Giving pads to
My students who have
Synced up
Faking it till I make it
With my chin up.


The warmth of your
furry little body
the sweetest of sensations

Freed from your cage
Reborn as my lady

Velvet black coat
like a tuxedo
with a white patch

you meow hello
you meow wake up
meow meow meow
feed me

the best alarm clock
snuggling me at a
quarter to five

sleeping at my feet
above my head, on my chest
or next to my bosom
and humming a purring melody

you patiently wait
every morning as I
fight past my morning haze

as my left foot
searches for one slipper
and the right follows next

our noses kiss
to say goodbye
and hello

every day you adjust
into the sweetest
nap time poses

one paw lazily
extends past another
or covers your face

sleep sleep sleep
yawn yawn yawn
and belly rubs

innocent face hunter
you pounce, wail
determination etched
on your face

eyes green like grapes
widen every time
I eat chicken

You’re like Garfield
trapped in a skinny

Harder for you
to get adopted
because you have FIV
which is cat HIV

Grateful that I found you
because you’re the perfect
kitty to me.

Washington Square Park

Protesting is American
after feeling betrayed
and afraid
Comforted by messages
from the picket lines.

The people united
will never
be defeated
Muslim lives matter
Black lives matter
Trans lives matter
Crowds of marginalized
and majority
because white silence

No to
Arms in arms
Building this country
this is what
democracy looks like


Reality is richer
than fiction

I found the dress
I was raped in
and didn’t know
what to do with it.
I haven’t for years

You know the dress too,
Marilyn Monroe’s iconic
white dress
cooling herself
over a subway grate.
It happened on a Halloween
I was her
he was pimp
reality, richer than fiction.

The first poem
I ever wrote
was titled, “Dirty White”
written at 12
about a woman
feeling dirty
in a dress
on her wedding day,
foreshadowing my own

I’ve contemplated,
burning it
as if the fire
could burn away the memory,
I’ve thought about
giving it away
but fearful that
it will be someone else’s

I’ve thought about
washing and wearing it
a bizarre testament
that I’ve healed
then dread washes over me
like unexpected rain
that it will happen again.

Marilyn and I are bonded
insight into
a polarizing figure
the sadness behind her eyes
the madness that consumed her
but shines effortlessly on screen
Impossible to look away from
her reality greater than fiction.

I’ve thought about
my experiences
Trying to justify
Find reasoning
Accepted that I’m given what
I can handle.
My poetic purpose interpreting
reality richer than fiction.


I wish I could
be seen

Maybe it’d be easier
to see the complexities

you would see
how much
I’m covered
in cobwebs
commonly known
as anxiety.

I have scars
and out
You’d see
jagged wounds
that never properly
The outside is scarred
by neurosis,
I compulsively
at anything
that doesn’t belong.
I scratch off scabs
I hate
the way they feel
and look,
I pick
searching for new skin
to be seen.

I force myself
to embrace
my bare face
my version
of aversion therapy.
Last week
I wore my armor,
make up
But when I glazed
in the mirror
I didn’t recognize myself

I love my ninja turtle shirt
just as much as my maxi dress
love flip flops
just as much as stilettos
Neither defines me.

My imperfections
are magnified
in my eyes

and it’s always relative
you never appreciate
the present enough
till it’s the future

If I’m inside
you’ll see my fat
just hanging
in all it’s flabby
not hidden
under black clothing
forgiving fabrics.

If only you’d see me
my muscle tendons
stringy like red yarn
instead of my
involuntary vanilla complexion,
my genes decided to arbitrarily
adhere to European
standards of beauty
without my permission
I’ve heard confessions
admiring my Casper complexion
“Todo te queda bien con tu piel”
Everything looks good with your
skin tone
admissions of colonized mentalities
“You don’t look Peruvian”
as if they had seen
all the millions of us
because when I walked around
in Lima
I saw a bunch of my clones,
my Peruvian people recognized
me as their own.
“You’re too pretty to be Peruvian”
Instantly degrading
devaluing Indigenous
and African beauty
which is my real make up
I’m sure my bones
have etched on them
the entire Andes mountain
and my heart
beats to the rhythm of el cajon.

I wish you could see me
as I see you
all it takes
is a look of the eyes
The cliche holds true
The glaze of envy
that for your own sake
I hope is temporary
the narrow minded
the angry glint
of ignorance
I’m comforted when I meet
and general goodness.

I wish I was inside out
see my soul
the color it is
I’ve always been fond of pink
maybe the soul is the aura
of the heart

That’s the part of me
I really wish you could see
how vulnerable
and sensitive
it beats.

To my future daughter

I love you
and I hope
I showed
or spoke
those words to you
every day.

I’m 27 borderline 28
and you’re nowhere
on the horizon

Right now
I’ve been working
making the world
a little better
before you arrive

I know
I’ll have called
you a leader
more than

You will play more
than house
unless it involves
how to build that
You will be beautiful
from the inside

Strength is our legacy

You come from your
great great abuela Matilde
who was a feminist
before the term
even existed.

you come from
Aurora y Ortencia
Fairy tale abuelas
known for their love

Love is my superpower
and will be yours too
Love, to understand
love, to have patience
love so you can forgive
love because it’s the closest
thing to magic.

You come from your
bisabuela Laura
A single mother
in 1950s Peru
selling tamales to survive.
She cooked from the heart
and had magical pots
that made enough food
for everyone.

you come from your
bisabuela Angela
whose hips gave birth
to 12 children
Making all of their clothes
Passed early on
but immortalized
by naming almost every female
after her.

you come from your abuela
with unparalleled work ethnic
never greedy
taught me how to be giving
because there’s always someone
in a worse position

You also come from me,
when life hands me
tough at bats
I always swing for the fences

when you find yourself
in difficult positions
be grateful
Take it as a compliment from God
because we are only given
what we can handle.

I’m 27 borderline 28
and I’m learning every day
how to be better
how to take the high road
and not stray.

I’ll always be in your corner
gently guiding
but I will tell you
when you’re wrong.
I will not judge your mistakes
because I love you already.

I think about the day
we finally meet
and hold you.

I aspire to be your role model
but you will have a great destiny
be my greatest legacy
I love you
and I don’t even know you
Mi hija,
live life fearlessly
don’t be intimated by
or heartbreaks
because you’re blessed
by God’s grace.

Dear Stanford Rape Victim

You are not a victim
but a survivor.

Victims are paralyzed
survivors find strength
in the pain

You did not ask for this
but now you’re shining,
a lighthouse
to those who did not get
their day in court.

Using your voice
to testify against
injustice of class and privilege
not going quietly into the night
rape perpetrators need to live in fear
not us.

I read your story
with wet eyes,
as survivors
we are bonded
empathizing through the process

rape is rape

Rape can happen
behind dumpsters
with a stranger,
at college party
with a friend,
in your home
with a spouse,
at home with
a family member

regardless of circumstances

rape is rape.

20 minutes of action caused
irrevocable damage to you
the public to dissect
the worst experience of your life

But I can tell you that

you will feel your worth again
the nightmares will stop
you will feel safe
you will find intimacy
you will feel confident
most importantly,
your voice and power
have already been found.

You are not a victim,
you are surviving
and soon you will be

Courage found in your vulnerability

soak up your own words,
you are beautiful
you are valued
you are respected
you are powerful

and I am with you.