While They Sleep Under The Bed Is Another Country by Raquel Salas Rivera


“These poems are the best words in the best order. They are about news that stays news. They are at once so honest and skillful that it is an impertinence to introduce or endorse them. On September 20, 2017, a category 5 catastrophic event swept Puerto Rico, resulting in the deaths of between three and seven thousand people.That December, after three months of relief work on this end, Raquel Salas Rivera returned to the island, where family and friends still lived. Flatly, this is among the most moving books of crisis I have read in more than two decades by a frighteningly talented poet. Philadelphia is lucky to have Salas Rivera as its Poet Laureate.” — Samuel R. Delany

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while they sleep (under the bed is another country) refuses to sweep up the shards of Hurricane María’s aftermath. Written in dialogic fragments and intersped with prose poems reflecting on the lasting impact of colonial trauma, it is arranged around the two different discourses. The bed on which America sleeps, and which America has made, is built on the fear that the nations it has oppressed will rise up against it, a monstrous shadow in a child’s nightmare. Written in English, while they sleep points to a imperialist American identity: the dormant body of the text. Answering in Spanish, under the bed is another country is the footnote, the monster under the bed, the colony: Puerto Rico.

While They Sleep Under The Bed Is Another Country by Raquel Salas Rivera