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About this poet

Leticia Hernández-Linares was born in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of Mucha Muchacha, Too Much Girl (Tia Chucha Press, 2015), and she coedited The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States (Tia Chucha Press, 2017). Hernández-Linares has received an Academy of American Poets University & College Prize as well as funding from the San Francisco Arts Commission. A multidisciplinary artist, musician, and performer, she lives in San Francisco, California.

Cumbia de Salvación

Cumbia sabrosa cumbia, para ti yo bailo hasta el amanecer

Legs wrap around each other
es la culpa del verso,
on the floor, wood lodges
in the skin open at our heels.

Caderas to the right, to the left
hips swing swaying to el acordeón
hitting notes to the side.

What it is that en realidad
manda en mi país, no es,
el ritmo sabrosón del Salvador.
Es el peso, el dólar, el colón.
Paper currency o cualquier tipo
de intercambio.

Pedacitos of broken bone
splinter in our teeth. Spitting them out,
we count steps, sweep soreness
from the joints—wish I could say
oh, the dancing. Tired arms
scour the greed from resistant corners.

Watch my curves cut through the cadence
of my babosada spree at el 99.
I request all parts of the animal,
wrap red juice of tripa in new dish towels.
Are you watching? As I make deals
that keep me scrubbing to meet
the minimum on the statement.

Try to stack under my pillow
so when I visit I can dance
under neon duty free sign,
binge on brand names
sport a striped American feel.

Pa pa ra pa cu cu cumbia
Yes girl, it’s the remix,
not the record scratched
or skipping. Repetition
but of choreography, interpreting
where desire and wallet part ways.
Sellers nodding heads, unfolding welcome
mats—sold, for cheap.

Es dinero el que manda en mi país
Es el ritmo sabrosón del Salvador

Para allá para acá ay para qué,
did you hear about la fulanita,
out of work, never goes dancing
¿Y eso ? es que she danced
right into the store, slipped and fell
on her debt.

Cumbia de mis amores

From Mucha Muchacha, Too Much Girl (Tía Chucha Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Leticia Hernández-Linares. Used with the permission of the author.

From Mucha Muchacha, Too Much Girl (Tía Chucha Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Leticia Hernández-Linares. Used with the permission of the author.

Leticia Hernández-Linares

Leticia Hernández-Linares

Leticia Hernández-Linares is the author of Mucha Muchacha, Too Much Girl (Tia Chucha Press, 2015). She lives in San Francisco, California.