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3rd Generation

By Dimitri Reyes

after Marina Carreira

We are grass cracked cement. Dollar store chalk breaking on rough sidewalk. Dust kissing our jeans when children cross streets watching out for buses code switching between careful, bus is turning and cuidado, autobús están virando. We are empanadas for breakfast and white rice for dinner. We are C&C sodas and sunflower seeds tucked into our Chucks, New Balances, SB Dunks, or Retro 4’s. Our countries are our minds. The megapixels of palms, grass, and sands seen on the walls of barbershops and bodegas come in 4K. We are change the channel on our IO Triple Play. We don’t know how to respond to its-your-heritage month because every month should be our month. Someone says for what? Our forehead wrinkles in repeat. For what. What. Qué. For. What. For. Qué? We is 4K and our last names leave us naked. We know there are more of us, never think there are too many of us. In America, we’re included if we see us in America until they don’t see us in America. We are raised by our grandparents (here or not) while our parents figure it out. They are still figuring it out. We are a part of the same gene pool until a different one is uncovered. We are the equivalent of standing in the wrong line at the DMV understanding English faster than we forget Spanish and that still doesn’t license us star spangled freedom. We are at-the-friend’s-house-with-the-clear-enough-pool and say damn, if only we can live in weather like this year round where that friend reaches across 4 generations to say you wildin’... I don’t like the heat.

DIMITRI REYES is a Puerto Rican multidisciplinary artist, organizer, & educator from Newark, New Jersey. He’s the Marketing & Communications Director at CavanKerry Press and an Artist-in-Residence at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. His forthcoming book is the winner of the Digging Press 2020 Chapbook Award. Learn more at


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