Lauren Licona


Lauren Licona is a poet of Puerto Rican and Honduran descent based in Boston, MA by way of Sanford, FL. Her work is featured or forthcoming in diode poetry journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Voicemail Poems, and elsewhere. She has performed on final stage at FEMSlam 2018 and represented Emerson College at CUPSI in 2019. She is currently working towards her BA in Writing, Literature, & Publishing at Emerson College. She can usually be found procrastinating in a library or dancing with friends at odd hours, and wants you to know that kindness is a powerful act of resistance. You can also catch her on twitter @douxrose_

an anti-colonial response (to be read in conversation)

          (erasure of the Jones–Shafroth Act of 1917 )


rebellion,      insurrection, the necessity          for such       shall exist.


          nothing contained in this act                shall be construed   to the safety of      


involuntary servitude.


          no law shall be passed            abridging the freedom           of the people.


preference shall forever be allowed.

no political or religious                        support                 for the United States                 shall
                                                                                                                             be required,



no public     appropriated         and    used   directly                


or indirectly, for


the benefit    or support    of 

                                                                    any system.

                               it shall be unlawful  to manufacture,              sell,    or give away,


laborers       or mechanics on behalf of the government.


                                         no indebtedness of Puerto Rico           shall be authorized
                                         or allowed.


all citizens    all natives     of Puerto Rico                are hereby declared          permanent.


the island     may not be availed.


her  harbors, bridges,                 houses,                    water,          powers,


                                                  highways,          unnavigable streams



 docks,                           slips,            reclaimed lands,              

                                                                                                    and all public
                                                                                          lands and buildings,


                                                                                          the facts of her birth,       
                                                                                          shall have authority         
                                                                                          subject to respect.



flashbulb memory of a girl and her abuela on the gulf of mexico,  st. petersburg, florida, 2009


my grandmother holds my ankles upright / while the rest of my body whelms itself into the
atlantic / the tide makes collision against her waist / i hold my breath / there was a time /
before expatriation / when mayagüez was not yet an ebbing in her chest / when she would
come to the shore / to watch her brothers skin fish on the dock for a handful of cuarteles /
and the men who slept beneath the pier / a congregation / their church made from drink
and canción / guiros and gritos spilling out over sunbleached coquina / as the waves / beat
against her city of rum and bone meal  / before she stepped onto the border / unborn / and
a new name was christened / from the souse on her back  / now / an american girl and her
grandmother stand in the gulf / and the sea is just a mirror i half myself into / my palms
scrape the sand for burrowed dinero / my fingers reach out /to bless the spire of a conch
shell / i do this until my vision blurs / and my lungs wring into themselves / if there is
anything the women in my family know / it is the strain of reaching / what i mean is / my
grandmother stretched herself across the caribbean / so her children could grasp the idea /
of a love unconquered / even now / she releases her hold on my legs / pulls me to the
surface / i show her two fists / clenched and full of writhing life / sand dollars / conchitas /
split open mollusks / a girl / with no claim and no country  / i understand / this is the
closest i will ever come / to birthright / she grins wide / the same gap between our front
teeth / a drawbridge splitting / and what a miraculous thing it is / to share distance / she
tells me / “ay, nena /  i thought you found something / worth leaving this world behind /
how long you spent / holding your breath.” / and i wish i could tell her / i did / instead / i
offer her this abundance / and we laugh / half-sunk in a marginal sea.





The Acentos Review 2019