Claire Calderón


Claire Calderón is Chilean-American writer and educator based in Oakland, California. A co-founder of the New American Story Project, she is dedicated to digital stories of the immigrant and refugee experience, and Workshop Coordinator of Las Dos Brujas Writers' Workshops. She is an alum and former staff member of VONA, a 2018 Hedgebrook fellow, and a graduate of the Mills College MFA program in English and Creative Writing. 

For Joane 

Joane Florvil, a 28-year old Haitian immigrant to Chile, was wrongfully accused of abandoning her three month-old baby and arrested on August 30, 2017. She later died at Hospital Clínico in Santiago of severe head wounds.


the Chilean tongue

yawns its vowels,

everything exiting stretched

into long strands or severed

coarsely at the hip.


fumbling to string

these sounds into logic, to raise

a cuffed hand to the cleft

your child carved (her smell of smoke

and saltwater, her soft),

you plead round mouthed,

not believing


this city of spit

and glares, trapped

exhaust, your Creole

a static, a street dog

whining as you wave

Super Ochos at car windows.


this country of simmering

rage, wounds stuffed

with Atacama sand,

abandoned plastic, clamped shut

with copper wire.


your heart is on fire,

the swollen muscle hissing

in flame. your skull, a fist

of twisted circuits, sparking

as it slams the cell wall, blaring

until sudden blood

swallows sound and light.


in your mind’s dark,

(place of palm shade;

wordless and warm)

your daughter moans herself to

sleep full of your milk.



© The Acentos Review 2018