Hearing That   Joe Arroyo Song at Ibiza Nightclub, 2008

A boy I did not marry                  taught me to dance salsa on 2      placed
the fingers of his left hand            on my untutored spine;               you know what
it’s like to become someone’s clave


to love for the span           of the trombone’s long breath                  he      whispered
negra so I spun                my heart landing            on     the     rum-covered     linoleum
of a nightclub


on what used to be New York Ave              in what used to be Chocolate City
I let him turn & spin                                 my name             bella negra
             his hands were less tender but still I let them roam


              when I                  1, 2, 3             5, 6, 7     in front of my mirror
I was always la negra defended in the lyric                       and     you     can     forgive
searching hands when a mouth swells the biggest ache of your body

                                                                                                 into song

More Poems by Elizabeth Acevedo