The featured excerpt is “Luna Llena” from My Puerto Rican Past, first published in The Homestead Review, Spring 2003.

Luna Llena


The moon was larger than any we had
ever witnessed in Queens, powerful enough
to affect more than the ocean's 
tides, insistent like a prayer repeated
into effortless memory, passionate
its backdrop as I held you closer 
than the space between notes of the love
song the orchestra was playing. 
The full moon that night in Puerto Rico
promised us an eternity of stars,
rum and coke washed nights, 
as I danced with you, Sylvia, wondering
how you could not be mine, 
since the very sky conspired 
to convince you happiness would settle
upon us like the sea surrounds Luquillo's
white sands, if only you would say sí 
to the arguments of that night's bolero.
Instead, I left without you from Fajardo,
in tired daylight, back to Long Island,
where no one really believes 
how yellow, how immense, how insistent
the moonlight matters to anything
as important as what perished 
that lost, lunar night: the youth
to believe your body's grace could
not lie to us, the innocence
to expect a moon that wise,
that full, could never
be wrong.