Jeni De La O


Jeni De La O is an Afro-Cuban poet and storyteller living in Detroit. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Obsidian, York Literary Review, Gigantic Sequins, Rigorous Magazine and others. Jeni founded Relato:Detroit, the nation’s first bilingual community storytelling event, which seeks to bridge linguistics divides through story. She is a Poetry Editor for Rockvale Review and organizes Poems in the Park, an acoustic reading series based in Detroit.

twitter is @jenidelao

The things we touch

When you are                          lost
tie a red cord. 

before you                      travel
put a coconut behind your door.

when you have                bad-dreams
pour out the glass of water under your bed. 

We are given these things:
things we taste, things we smell,
the things we recognize from before leaving the womb:
what we touch is what we know first
and most deeply,
                  and then we are taught
                  to pour ourselves out in prayer,
                  to literally unbind the cord between
                  us and the universe.
                  and in its place: a thought,
                  that is not our thought.
                  in its place: a history
that is not our history.
                  we are asked
to shake the Earth’s foundation,
                  and then pray for safety.

© The Acentos Review 2018