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selección de antes que isla es volcán

selections from before island is volcano

el sueño americano

muere soñando
con vuelos de regreso.

the american dream

dies dreaming
of return flights.


calibán a sus amigos

no tengan miedo.
no son ruidos,
son canciones.

caliban to his friends

don’t be afraid.
those aren’t noises,
they are songs.


calibán a shakespeare

de sycorax, coquíes, cucubanos y luciérnagas
que llamaste sapos, escarabajos y luces.

caliban to shakespeare

by sycorax, coquíes, cucubanos and fireflies
which you called frogs, beetles, and lights.


calibán a prospero

para yasmina

me raptaste de mi hogar,
me castigaste cuando no decía míster,
aprendí tus malas palabras,
te maldije en tu idioma
para que entendieras.

nunca entendiste.
dijiste que mi acento era muy fuerte.

caliban to prospero

for yasmina

you stole me from my home,
you punished me when i didn’t say mister,
i learned your bad words,
i cursed you in your language
so you would understand.

you never understood.
you told me my accent was too thick.


caliban a sí mismo

cambiar de dueño
no te liberó.

caliban to himself

changing masters
didn’t free you.

Photo of Raquel Salas Rivera
Raquel Salas Rivera is the 2018-19 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. They are the inaugural recipient of the Ambroggio Prize and the Laureate Fellowship, both from the Academy of American Poets. Raquel loves and lives for Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, and a world free of white supremacy.