Written by: Sharline Dominguez
I lament the days I am not by your side. I miss you like a dog who loses one of its offspring. Under a New York sun that does not burn with Caribbean intensity, I yearn for your mountains, your dirt, and most especially, your waters. Within me, I feel everything you have given to become a martyr. When I parted with you in April 2019, I laughed and showed you off to my friends and familia, so they too can laugh from a distance although they don’t understand. The revolution on both sides of an imaginary border have made disorders out of our people’s identities. The black, the white, and the brown is the only way to make sense of us.
I want you to love my every side, don’t make me into a border. Don’t create valleys out of my skull. Don’t rip my straight, European and Indigenous hair from my body. I am the white, black and brown swirling in my morning coffee. I yearn for your frijoles molidos and plantains on a greased pan, el pan de agua the old man from the vecindario sells on a heavy cart every morning. I itch to smear your fresh butter on my fluffy bread like how my sister uses cocoa butter on her curly hair. For a long time, I believed my sister and I weren’t related. Walking frauds. The difference in the texture of our hair, unmistakable.
Maybe I’ll rewind the tapes of our histories, intertwined. Return me to your earth so that I can uncover the mounds of unspoken truths hidden underneath our infrequent visits. My Spanish will be drenched in the Dominican flavor it lacks in New York. I will burn this sage for our brothers and sisters on opposite sides of the island; the field workers in my dreams. Mirame, look at me once more; don’t bat your eyes and then leave my side. My isla dominicana y haitiana, eres una república aislada.
Sharline Dominguez was planned and birthed in la Republica Dominicana, where she lived with her family until she was three years old before moving to New York City. When she arrived with her father, she called Sunset Park, Brooklyn her first home in the states, falling in love with rap and hip hop music over her oversized headphones. She has been writing creative fiction, non-fiction and investigative stories since she learned her ABC’s and 123’s. She now proudly works at the Brooklyn Public Library.