Sheila Maldonado   



even the

succulents in

andalucía sing

love songs

many unrequited notes

from all the varieties

of tough green leaves here

forgotten by water

a crowd of cacti

holding their own

retaining what they can

till the water returns

blushing greener

when it does

growing harder

pretending they

don’t care

it’s been gone

they’re fans

of melodies

with origins

like theirs

that traveled

across the pond

and back

this one cactus

with the limbs

and bark like trees

and yellow flowers

on top

sings willie:

solo me alienta el deseo divino de hacerte mío

mas me destruye la incertidumbre que estoy pasando

another one

like a bush

with a wide leaf

croons beny:

si vives escondida de tu propio corazón por ti lo siento

demúestrate a ti misma la verdad aunque te cause sufrimiento

a flower of only

thick green petals

open like an

onion blossom

belts celia:

no no no no no no sé si lo maldice

o lo bendice mi corazón

porque usted

sacó provecho de mí


idle time


in the

dry heat

lived in

love past

love imagined




Sheila Maldonado grew up in Coney Island between Surf and Mermaid Avenues, across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. Her family is still there when they’re not in their house in Honduras. She is now an amateur Mayanist, a backup singer in a Latin music school band, and president and sole member of the Björk Fan Club, Washington Heights Chapter.  Her poems have been published in Rattapallax, Meridians, Promethean, and as part of the Center for Book Arts’ Broadsides Reading Series. She received a M.A. in Creative Writing from City College of New York and a B.A. in English from Brown University, and teaches creative writing in NYC public schools through Teachers & Writers Collaborative.