Michi Cabrera

immigrant story

In 1969, Cabo Rojo, Dominican Republic, 
he worked as a mechanic for an American company
mining for a mineral called bauxite. 
Balaguer was president. Mucho gente no lo queria.
Tu Abuelo fui al cine. They started showing previews
and were demonstrating the good he was doing in the country.
Many people started booing. 
The military came in and said whoever was booing stand up.
No one stood up. They picked five people at random.
Lo dieron golpe mucho golpe. Lo encarcelaron. 

El Capitan del ejercito era amigo del tu Abuelo. 
He would fix his car. 
Pero el no fui a ayudarlo. 
It came out in the newspaper: 
5 communistas arrestado por estar contra il gobierno. 

The only communication she had with him was over radio.
She lived in the Capital and was 15 hours away by car.
The principle office was in the Capital and she brought
the newspaper there and asked them about it, they said
they were going to send an attorney over there to find
out what happened. 

Tu Abuelo fui con su camisa lleno de sangre.
He was certain that they were going to kill him.
He spoke to the judge and defended everyone.
Tu sabes como eres tu Abuelo.
El tenia una cortilla rota y mucho golpe por todo parte pero
mucho en su pecho encima del corazon.

They sent him home for 15 days
and told him to come back to work after resting.
He quit.

Tenia mucho rancor
y por eso decidió
por venir acá.

agricultural landscaping
Claverack, NY
August 14, 2017


an old jacket with missing buttons and yellow paint

Why did you send this to me? Essentially, is what Guillermo said. He expressed concerns that someone
was trying to steal his identity. What
an odd
package. -he DMed me on Instagram.
My friend said you would bring it to Argentina—she’s in Bariloche. My friend Che from la
Mandala—she lent it to me when she lived in New York City.

It was five years ago now.

We watched the fireworks on a Greenpoint rooftop that summer.
Have you ever had Ethiopian?
There’s this place called Bunna in Bushwick.
We had the feast for three there
with another friend. It comes with six rolls of injera instead of four with the feast for two.
I like the butecha selata and the shiro.

One weekend, she
wore a
black and yellow
Pirates cap
and met me at Dweebs. I drove local and took us to Fort Tilden.

One night, we
saw her boyfriend play
jazz bass
Coca Cola Club.
And this brown boy about sixteen came out at the end playing the saxophone.

Floyd Mayweather won a big fight that night.
The waitstaff was talking about the bets they placed.

Anywho, she
said her brother Nils works with you. Michi, Willie (Guillermo) knows about
the jacket!
-she texted me
on WhatsApp.

This is the second time I sent it to Utah.

Tell him

“the first time I mailed it,
we got the zip code wrong and it came back to me a few days
later, but
by then you had already left.”

I was wearing a white linen button up the night she lent it to me
and these navy colored…
these navy colored…
these navy blue swishy pants.
It made a great oversized blazer.
It was also navy blue.
She told me it was her mothers and showed me where she got paint on it. Let’s paint the town red. Or at least the neighborhood.– she said with a grin.

Did I mention I just had major knee surgery?
It was five hours long.
I spent six weeks at my mother’s recovering. I’m just starting to walk again. It’s actually my mom who
mailed it. I couldn’t walk to the post office.

That’s all to say
no one is trying to steal your identity. Yes, he said,
it makes sense now.
I remember now.
I’m going to Argentina today, I’ll see Nils tomorrow.
Thanks, Willie

Bushwick, NY
October 11, 2014


Michi Cabrera is a Puerto Rican-Dominican New Yorker, writer, and wellness practitioner. Her poetry and essays explore sensuality, the passage of time, kinship, and presence. They reference stories from her adventures abroad, and canvas her NYC hometown and Caribbean motherlands. Michi (pronounced Mickey) is a real estate attorney. Her favorite paddleboarding spots in the world are in Condado Lagoon, Puerto Rico and La Boca, Dominican Republic. She has a daily meditation practice and drinks 80-120 ounces of water a day. She lives in the Bronx and has six plants. You can find more on her website at michifaye.com.