Clorox and Adobo

On Sunday mornings the slips of light that shine through 

White, dusted blinds are always close to first in awakening me 

from the land of dreams 

Salseros from Puerto Rico dance on the tips of my lips 

And I know mother is mixing up brujeria with arroz and ganudules in her olla 

Those Salseros always race the sun up the steps and slide under my door 

They search for me and with them bring the scent of summer 2009 alcapurias in Piñones 

And for a second I confuse the artificial winds from my Kenmore Sears fan 

With Caribbean Breezes 

I, open eyes, and disappointed do not see the beauty of my mother’s homeland 

But it’s aroma fills every space, you cannot escape the smell of Puerto Rico on Sunday mornings 

I rub tired, jaded eyes 

and push my feet to the side 

Mother has been mopping 

And the Salseros battle with the fresh scent of bleach 

Clorox and Adobo fighting to overpower each other 

Clashing scents of island and cleaning products 

Fighting their way to convince me that 

Mother is more cooking than cleaning, 

or more cleaning than cooking 

I am convinced that she is filled with Mangos, Pasteles, and Magic 

I do not question how she can cook, and clean, and love at the same time 

I walk leaving footprints behind in the freshly cleaned and dampened wooden floors 

And make my way to the bathroom 

Where imperfect relaxed Taino hair stretches in all directions 

paste, brush, mint, rinse, spit, smile 

I make my way past Fabuloso and incense 

And see her waving her wand over pollo and tostones 

Making them dance in the air, 

Ancestors posses her spirit as she conjures culture 

I sit at the table as she cooks with one hand, and sweeps with the other 

Wishing she would whisper to me her secrets 

She places a plate in front of me 

Watches ¡Despierta América! on a small 32 inch Toshiba TV 

And asks over the roars of vacuums and Luis Fonsi 

Mami are you hungry? 

Sunlight slips through white dusted blinds, strips of light and dark shadowed across her face 

Heats rises from plates 

Pop, Sizzle, Crackle 

My mother is Magic, Clorox and Adobo 

And on Sunday Mornings, this house isn’t a home 

It is Puerto Rico

 

Translations:

 

Salseros - One who dances Salsa. Salsa is a popular dance originated in New York with strong influences from Puerto Rico. 

 

Brujeria – witchcraft 

 

Arroz con gandules – Rice and pigeon peas 

 

Olla – pot 

 

Alcapuria – fritter dish from Puerto Rico made with green banana and ground beef. 

 

Piñones- an area outside of San Juan, Puerto Rico known for its beaches and foods such as alcapurias, and pasteles. 

 

Adobo – Spanish seasoning 

 

Pasteles – a traditional dish served in many Hispanic countries. 

 

Fabuloso- All purpose cleaner 

 

Pollo - chicken 

 

Tostones – fried plantains sliced 

 

¡Despierta América! (Wake up America!) – a Spanish morning show which airs on Univision. 

 

Luis Fonsi – male Latin pop singer

This poem is about: 
My family

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