Li Yun Alvarado


Brick City grit

still profiles

in your strut

An infant ‘fro

grasps in search

of fresh freedoms

Caribbean suns shine

through the rough of your

cheek, the white of your tee

Eyes intense but light

like hazelnut


You have no smell

no stale of cigarettes

no Chinatown bus

And your back

is wide, firm, and full

of silent goodbyes


Your Back


Li Yun Alvarado is a Puerto Rican poet, writer, and educator born and bred in New York City. She has several poems forthcoming in PALABRA, A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art and has participated in the VONA Writers Workshop in San Francisco. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters degree in English with a creative writing concentration at Fordham University, where she helps coordinate the Poets Out Loud reading series. She lives in New York City and takes frequent trips to Salinas, Puerto Rico to visit la familia.