Jacqueline Jiang


Jacqueline Jiang is a Puerto Rican-Chinese educator, writer, and poet mentor for high school students throughout the San Juan area of Puerto Rico. Her work focuses on the diaspora and longing for home/acceptance, while also intertwining with identity poetics and concepts of gender relations. Her academic studies have taken her throughout the world spreading the importance of what it is to be Latinx.

No One Can Breathe Underwater

A poem for Rosimar Rodríguez


It takes less than a breath for an image to disappear. 

A girl, a white car, red shoes, concrete. 

Breathe in upstairs. 


Tires accelerate, the sidewalk warm from the rubber on the run. 

No girl, no red shoes, the white car is far from sight and no license plate is recorded because no one expects for this to happen on an island where there are still people that go to sleep with their doors open. 


For them, there, the most criminal act in town is to go to bed sin pedirle la bendición a mami

That is the kind of people we are. The kind of people we were. The kind of people we need to be. 


Breathe out. 


Call for help because Rosimar is gone, 

Transplanted to an unknown place and now I can imagine how scared the flower must have felt being held in captivity through the looking glass by some Beast. 


I see her face when I close my eyes. 

We are all her, the feelings of guilt, anger, fear come and seep through Facebook 

posts that define and separate generations: 

We are not scared because we dress this way. 

We are not scared because we decide who we love & how we show it. 

We are not scared because we are wrong. 


We are not scared. 


We are angry, indignadxs

Tired of being thrown into darkness with bullet holes in us as a result of a government that cannot satisfy its people. 

Our shoes, our petals, are red, sangre de mi gente slipping into dirty water because the ones in power are too distracted to care. 


“This is an emergency!” Gritaron la familia

“This is an emergency!” The town cried, “The marks are still here. This was not a pick up!”




emergency!” The island cried. 

Nos están matando!” 


“This is an emergency,” I write. 

I hope you are listening. I hope you will tell everyone you know that we are more united than ever. That when you pull us under the water, 

We become the ocean. 

We search for our dead, honor them with salt, sand, shells to cover the holes left by negligence, murder, and denial. 


And then, we turn into a tidal wave. 

We don’t stop until we uncover the truth.


She sleeps now. 

Water protects her.

It looks for bad roots to drown. 

The ominous storm is on the horizon. 


It takes less than a breath for an image to disappear.

© The Acentos Review 2021