Susana Praver-Pérez


Susana Praver-Pérez is an Oakland based poet, short-story writer and co-founder of La Tertulia Boricua, a monthly Puerto Rican cultural salon. Her work has previously appeared in the May 2017 issue of The Acentos Review, on KPFA radio and at numerous live readings around the SF Bay Area. She is an alumna of Naropa Institute’s Summer Poetics Program, Las Dos Brujas Writers’ Workshop and is currently studying Creative Writing at Berkeley City College.

Although Susana is passionate about poetry, she’s not ready to give up her day job at La Clínica de la Raza in Oakland, California where she has worked for over 30 years as a Physician Assistant and currently as an Associate Medical Director.



It was the winds,
          Terror winds creeping incognito
          Signed in as Sacred Mother,
          To fool the faithful. 

Not just winds—monster gales
          Twisting communication towers with bare hands
          Turning rigging meant to protect into projectiles
          Undoing Guajataca dam. 

It must have been the winds that turned
          The line that divides the living from the dead
          Into crêpe paper ribbons
          Spiraling high overhead. 

That brutal wind raged, stomped so hard
          Boricuas spinning in the air didn’t know
          On which side of the line
          They would land. 

When the winds calmed,
          We in the diaspora dropped pebbles in rising waters
          But there were no ripples. We strained to hear through throbbing silence
          But not even the coquis sang. 

Querida Isla, ¿Estás allí? Háblame por favor—Qué me contestas—Algo
Algo por favor, por favor…

          We gathered to wait,
          Embraces lingering, holding one other
          Even if we didn’t know each other’s names.
          Drums pulsing like heart beats broke the silence.
          The subidor sang our supplications.
          Bomba dancers in prayerful trance, chased storm clouds
          Skirts whirling in María’s wake.
          A crescendo of voices, claves and drums pounded fervent pleas…
          …and then I saw you across the room. 


It must have been the wind and that broken border
          Between the breathing and the departed
          That brought you back to me ‘though your ashes swirl
          In the air above Aguadilla ten years now. 

Dapper as ever in a white guayabera, a gentle wind caressed your thick dark hair.
          I longed to touch your sepia skin across the expanse,
          Watched your hands dance, make the cueros sing
          Passion vivid as a flamboyán. 

For a sweet moment, I indulged in reminiscence, rambled with you amid calm winds
          In Santurce, Utuado, Piñones, Arecibo, El Yunque, Corozal
          Till you told of the tempest that shattered these places,
          Of red earth flowing like rivers of blood. 

I asked who the winds had taken.
          Your eyes darkened with sorrow… hay muertos…
          Then brightened---our family had survived,
          Hands held high amid fallen palms. 

I cast appeals to the heavens on autumn winds,
          But you disappeared like ocean mist. My tears fell in ripples of loss—
          Some fresh, some timeworn, some still unfolding,
          As the barriles played a mournful güembé.

Querida Caribe,                                                                      

No dejo de pensar en ti.
Mi corazón se rompe
          por estas tormentas recientes
          de voces y vientos. 

Los que se creen tus dueños
          te barren
          como si fueras tierra marrón.
Pretenden no reconocer tu nombre
Ni el pillaje de la materia prima
          de tus montañas,
          de tus bosques,
          y el sudor de tu frente. 

La luz se ha apagado
          en el archipiélago.
Bocas secas, cuerpos sudados
          anhelan agua dulce.
Ayuda viene de aquellos con estantes vacíos
          que con gusto comparten
          su plato de arroz. 

Pero, a pesar de fronteras belicosas,
         abalanzas y bloqueos,
Crispín, desde la Plaza de la Revolución,
          pinta un gallo gigante,
          como un Caballo de Troya,
          lleno de amor. 

Esto es su arma
En esta guerra guerrillera.
La Victoria



Querida Caribe, 

I can’t stop thinking of you.
My heart breaks
          for these most recent storms
          of winds and words. 

Those who think they own you
Sweep you under the rug
          like brown debris.
Claim not to recognize your name
la materia prima pillaged
          from your mountains,
          your forests,
          the sweat of your brow. 

The light has gone out
          across the archipelago.
Parched mouths, sweating bodies
          crave sweet water.
Help comes from those with bare shelves
          sharing their plate of rice. 

But, despite bellicose borders,
          blockades and barrages,
Crispín, in his Plaza de la Revolución  garret,
          paints a giant gallo
         a Trojan Horse filled with love. 

That is his weapon
in this guerilla war 

La Victoria

© The Acentos Review 2018