Two Poems by Juanita Rey


One a.m., I’m back
from a spree through
the land of men.
Behind me,
clubs have turned black,
high rises melted into sky.
Yes, I put my best self out there.
And guys showed interest.
One insisted he take me home
I did not go in that direction.

As much as I love the male sex,
I’m aware that, being female
bestows on me a responsibility
to protect what warrants protection.
Should one of those creatures
decide to take me on,
it’s my acuity
against busy hands, prime muscle.
I made it through another night
of alcohol and dance,
chitchat and wavering self-respect.
But just.

I’m back at my apartment
turn on all lights,
report to the kitchen,
make myself a cocoa
before slipping off to bed.
I’m returned temporarily
to being totally in charge.



She crashed in my apartment,
slept on the couch.

I didn’t know her so well
but, as she kept telling me,
we were both from the same village.

That was her excuse
for eating my food
and staying home all day
watching my television.

I kept hinting
at how small my place was.
She just laughed,
replied how,
back on the island,
her home was half this size
and she was one of five children.

And then when I mentioned “job,”
she’d mutter something about
how nobody’s hiring.

She figured being from
the same place
in the same country
meant people had more in common
than if they were both writers
or high-wire walkers,
or even lovers.

She was overweight
and deadly boring
and too lazy to help out
when it came to cooking or cleaning.
My island,
bless its torrid heart,
was none of these.


Juanita Rey is a Dominican poet who has been in this country five years. Her work has been published in Pennsylvania English, Opiate Journal, Petrichor Machine and Porter Gulch Review.

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