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Portrait of Iris Morales at The Young Lords Offices, September, 1970 — Vincent Toro

on September 15 | in Poetry | by | with No Comments

Her contraposto posture is pure contraband,
a reclamation project of lashes

 
that remember the overseer’s lash. Each
holstered fist awaits ascension

 
as she commands an arc of stars freshly
emancipated from their flag.
 

Hidden are her teeth that do not smile
on command, teeth carved from the cay
 

where Atabey gave birth to the Caribbean
Sea. Such royalty is unfit for a low income

 
tenement. She’s caught wind that the Grand
Concourse is merely a doppelganger

 

of the Middle Passage. Her hips are not child
bearing hips. They are factory strike

 

inciting hips. Hips that raise consciousness,
not infants. Best believe she did not come

 

to this peninsula looking for a government
check. She came to build a rainforest

 
upon this gully of busted radiators, to send the cat
callers and councilmen scampering.

 
Vincent Toro has an MFA in poetry from Rutgers University. He is winner of the 2015 Sawtooth Poetry Prize and is recipient of both a Poet’s House Emerging Poets Fellowship and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. His poems have been published in Kweli, The Buenos Aires Review, Codex, The Acentos Review, The Journal, The Ostrich Review, Matter, and The Cortland Review, and have been anthologized in CHORUS and The Waiting Room Reader 2. Vincent is an artist in the schools for Dreamyard and The Dodge Poetry Foundation and a teacher at Bronx Community College. His collection, “Stereo.Island.Mosaic.” is forthcoming in January 2016 from Ahsahta Press.

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