Jane Alberdeston


Jane E. Alberdeston Coralin is a poet living and working in Puerto Rico, the island of her birth. While she teaches at the University of Puerto Rico in Arecibo , she continues to work on her novel-in-stories. She has begun to wind the threads of a new collection of poetry. 


Love, 1977        

               For Superman

While the girls at Augsburg Elementary touted their forever and undying for Tony Danza and any of the five Jacksons, I had you, flush in your crocus-blue, your ballooning cape the color of a pricked finger. You were a crisp paper Goliath, less comic strip than Michaelangelo’s David. But I was not a poet back then, I knew no metaphors for your face.

I was at each of your births, from baby Moses on the Nile to the messiah cradled in hay, watching a star rise. You were there the day I stopped playing with Barbie, wanting love on rooftops and balconies. And still you stood by, glorious guardian on my wall, to watch me sleep. How I dreamed telephone booth weddings, nights soaring through cloud and dust, the city beneath us brimming like an anthill, my feet grazing the Empire’s lightning rod.

And though some claimed they too loved, when the kryptonite got you, I got weak in the knees, watching your pain, industrial and dyed a peculiar shade of red, like the new kid at school who looked just like me, his swelling lips bloodying the bully’s fist.

You and I were contraband: I had my Spanish, dancing in the prison of my family’s public silence. You had the truth hidden behind black rimmed glasses, those wing-tips you could not fly in.

At the Bleidorn Caserne theater, they in their small imaginations chanted U.S.A., shouting it at you as if you belonged to them, as if the acronym itself could rise you up like a stone from the garden crypt. As if you were not an orphan, with your own mineral and dentil grammars, the things you would miss from your version of home: the careful scent of your mother’s jasmine, the recurring taste of your icicle sea.

I was no Lois, I knew they would never have you, you would never truly be theirs, scooped up by the pins and needles of their fear of all things different. One day they would notice, call you ‘stranger’, push you, you farm-raised boy, you shifty-eyed suspicion, you black question mark. They would never understand your incuse design, your marvelous wish.

So what if you were not my grandmother’s Superman? Not a white boy from Kansas, but somehow a little like me, uncomfortable, alien, falling from the gathering sky like Chicken Little’s acorn or my father’s money from trees.


Cordilleras and Other Excursions in the Way of Forgetting


I cannot leave.
I am stayed
to the road,
highways cutting
through forest,
the homespun science
of bees and men.

In the faraway --
the Cordillera,
a belt that hugs me

I see its petrous side,
its curve seducing, inside its karst

palate, beckoning
as if I were a sailor unschooled
in the songs of shipwreck.



In the exhaust,
I hear the rumblings
of anti-partidistas and their disappointment.


Something tells me
I will die like this.


Itinerant grocers guide me
towards mislaid cities, small forests
of Boricua redemption. They offer
tongues of land in square root.
To Moca, to San Sebastian.
Fingers of a bony reach
point up.



The genipap hides in the thick,
protects itself from my thirst,
steels itself to the hurricane past.

         You, my girl, are not good enough
         not ripe to the touch. Let us put our noses
         to you, see how well you come along.



I lost what I came for.



The highway buzzes.
The Cordillera mumbles at me,
reminds me I am a daughter
in a world made for sons.
The Cordillera says
so in a Spanish meant 
for the teeth of morivivi. 
But I get the gist and rumble on
over tire grist and the sands of school girl
bones, their skirt pleats let out 
in the hope of rain.



I corkscrew alleyways of roble,
racemes spill their yellow fruit like confetti
branches laced like arms of crucifixes
dotting the No. 10 Road.



God spits and all its children get tipsy, counting
how many drops it takes to make
a deluge, a telluride 
carrying me and other derelicts
out to sea, like all good tsunamis.



I pray too that the wave
sweeps me from the moorings
of Aguadilla, from across Rex Cream, 
under cliffs of clover and plantain
where if I could I would count
my great-grandmother’s footstep,
on a different nameless elevation
where the census never arrived
to find Monserrate roasting coffee beans
in a storm. Her mistakes and mine soar past
the ballasts creeping through
shoreline like whale bones, if whales
could come this close
to the colony of everything

© The Acentos Review 2016