Ricardo Alberto Maldonado

Jin's Superette

for Erica



We were spectacularly sane, always singularly

moving toward Bird,


making ourselves relative to conifers. We were too numerous

for the room.


Some things were meant to be traversed:

we welcomed the opportunity to be hired as Writer-Strike scabs,


asked are house-cats permitted in the library

of celestial sandwiches?


which agitated the heart. We required lavishly produced grocery

lists and figured empathy


and turkey breast, bought together in a deal, were missing

from our murder mysteries.


We take the couch with serenity until it silences us

with council:


departure is not an act of cruelty, but a way to be singularly kind,

always relevant to others.

The Symbolism Practice Test


We don’t mean to be crass, Little Bird, except we thought we made it: windowsills

disintegrate into pollen; every third day, our parkas deflate because we loiter

after naming. On the fourth, terrestrial endeavors seem untoward after eating light

salad from the mini-fridge with a reduced heart.

Dear Administrator, we hadn’t messaged in a while. We wanted to see how the folks

lived up here, honoring the branch.

Being there seemed of substantial vitality. Outside, red pigeons sigh with

incidental ennui, which appeases us after feeding, with a draping of fog on the elms

at the end of the street.


RICARDO ALBERTO MALDONADO was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He is the translator of Dinapiera Di Donato’s Collateral 

(Akashic Books/National Poetry Series) and the recipient of fellowships in poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts and Queer Arts Mentorship. He is managing director at the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center.