Taina Fertility Chant

Betty Boop Boricua
No me diga— la nena ‘ta pregnant again?
(I thought she decided no more after Tito…)
she’s almost 16, and she dropped out of school.
(It might be the spice in abuela’s sofrito…)

There’s one in the oven and two in the stroller
Oh nubile Boricua, what gives— ¿Qué sería?
if life is the masa and birth is the bakery
yours is a virtual panadería

Some pulse in your short-shorts, those flexible hips
under tropical rhythm of lewd reggaeton
seems to summon the sperm from your lover’s abundance
whenever you find yourselves home and alone.

Where’s your man? Who’s the daddy? Why didn’t he stay?
your gaze is unsettling, harshly pathetic.
You sad Betty-Boop: are you waiting in vain
for your man—or your period?  How unpoetic…

This life lived on welfare, entitled, enslaved
with your babies at grandma’s and you with your phone
is a taxpayer’s nightmare and teenage recurrence
(but you’re busy texting some drama unknown…)

Mamita herself looks more like your hermana
She started this game even earlier, too
When you stand, side by side, in your thongs and pijama
it’s hard to be sure who is who.


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