Review: Clap When You Land

I was raised so damn Dominican Spanish my first language

bachata a reminder of the power of my body
plánto & salami for years before I ever tasted

peanut butter & jelly sandwhicches.
If you asked me what I was,

& you meant in terms of culture, 
I'd say Dominican.

No hesitation, 
no question about it. 

Can you be from a place
you have never been?

You can find the island stamped all over me,
but what would the island find if I was there?

Can you claim a home that does not know you,
much less claim you as its own?

Clap when you land is a beautiful story about two girls from completely different worlds (New York and the Dominican Republic) and upbringings that, through tragedy, find out they might just have more in common than other could ever have imagined.

It’s got a fascinating structure, told almost entirely in free verse poetry, mostly in English but with a liberal splattering of untranslated Spanish. I know enough to get the gist, but this is one time when reading on an e-reader was great, since it could translate any missing words well enough. The writing really is quite beautiful (see above) and manages to really make you feel the two girls and their loss and discovery and hesitancy and growing up, all rolled into one.

Well well worth the read, as odd as it is.