Poetry No. 51 – JP Infante

Yasica, Puerto Plata

When I lived in the mountains,
I thought the same color meant the same taste.
Tangerines, oranges and the sun. Citrus.

When I saw my great-grandmother peel a tangerine with her bare hands
while men used knives for oranges, she became God.
I imagined what she could do with the sun.


When I returned to the mountains I was a man with disposable income
and the exchange rate in my favor. Native Tourist.

My primos became maipiolos offering me primas.
They offered to fix and repaint the house my great-grandmother built
with the cinderblocks she flung from New York.



My great-grandmother’s health brought our family back to the mountains.
On her last night, I was in a bar still high from the Haraka scored in Cabarete.

My fat cousin, doubling as chauffeur and bodyguard,
picked me up on his black motoconcho with rum on his breath.

I held on behind him on the motorbike, careful not to touch the 9-millimeter on his hip.
Presidente splashed inside me with every curve.

A flickering headlight showed a winding dirt road up ahead.
Up above a million tiny suns lit the night sky, waiting to be peeled.

JP Infante is a teacher and writer in New York City. His poetry and prose can be found in PEN America Best Debut Short Stories for 2019, Kweli, The Poetry Project, Acentos Review, Rigorous, Dominican Writers, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4 and elsewhere. He’s been awarded the PEN Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, Bernard L. Einbond Memorial Prize, and the Aaron Hochberg Family Award.

© JP Infante

Photo Credit:  © Gessy Alvarez