Children of the Apocalypse

On the Third anniversary of Hurricane Maria, inspired by my children and all the children of Borikén and her sister islands, surviving and seeking ways to thrive in these continued apocalyptic times of genocide.

Apocalypse: Ancient Greek for an “uncovering”, a revelation.

The children of the apocalypse are a new breed
Circle the living room on their bicycles as winds and rain pound plywood over windows
Play dominoes during eyewalls
Lower fear-induced fevers with rose quartz pressed to their hearts
Glue their palms to their ears and squeeze tears through eyes shut tight when the wind gets too rough
Fall asleep through the rest of the storm then emerge to inspect damages
Watch videos on devices powered by five extension cords running to their neighbor’s generator
Build Lego houses with tormenteras
Ride bicycles among the escombros
Have spontaneous play dates along red gandungos of gasoline stations
Return to school for AC, light and water when they have none at home
Spit at teachers who never explain where their two other kindergarten teachers went
and if they are coming back again
The children of the apocalypse rise before sunrise
Play through the dark dawn to the light of a linterna solar
Displaced from their still leaking rooms, turn salas into nightly campsites

The children of the apocalypse ride hot wheels at the feet of freedom fighters
Follow their coffins chanting revolutionary slogans led by radical bishops,
where resistance hymns replace psalms
Know that death is not the end
Visit with the ancestors as they sleep

The children of the apocalypse open presents de los reyes as the sofa shakes
Permanently abandon their rooms when the soil violently shakes them from their beds
Arrive at school with earthquake emergency mochilas of granola bars, bottled water, lanterns, batteries and mandatory whistles to be heard if need be
Children of the apocalypse returned to school in tents, turned lawns into beds
Never made it back to schools collapsed,
lied awake at night from the rumble of the earth that would not let them sleep

Unused beneath empty pupitres of dark classrooms
Unstrapped the mochilas to strap on mascarillas
Never a goodbye to their classmates
Never allowed to gather in beaches or parks, especially after dark
Their families fined or arrested for driving their cars past 7pm
Curfews are commonplace in the colony that imposes martial law past 11
as the people dethrone apathetic puppet governors
Children of the apocalypse sing plenas and picket before the police launch tear gas

Playing Legos to the light of a linterna

The children of the apocalypse escape between Zoom classes to chase chickens and gallos
and the neighbors cats before returning sweaty with a pana in hand
They slide beneath the desk whenever their best friend appears
saying they’re supposed to be in school together playing, not on their screen
Like Miles Morales’ Spiderman gone invisible after a threat,
they turn off the video setting
whenever their teacher calls on them for an answer

The children of the apocalypse sleep with battery operated fans and solar powered lights at their bedsides
They fetch themselves papaya when constipated
Cilantro and oregano as antibiotic added to meals when sick
Anoint booboos con aceite de coco
Ingest honey and turmeric to soothe sore throats
Sleep to the steam of eucalyptus for respiratory infections
Calm themselves to the scent of lavender
Heal headaches with amethyst
Know the difference between healers and politicians
and between bullshit and justice
They know the pure essence of love
and can sniff an imposter from a distance

They already know their purpose here, I am told

Our boys observe the damage from our blown window.

Brooklyn-born and raised, Yasmín Hernández rematriated to her ancestral homeland of Borikén in 2014.  For over two decades, her creative practice has been centered on this land, its suppressed histories, healing and liberation practices. She shares her art at

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