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You came here as a tourist
And you fell in love with the flavor of frío frío de crema
And the creatures you had only heard of but never seen
There is history in all her corners

She is composed of everything worth writing home about
Your mother beams, for she is proud
For you decided to chase your dreams and leave your town
Look at you, in Williamsburg!

But that wasn’t good enough
You had to gut her out.
The tubs weren’t deep enough
The cabinets weren’t really your style
You needed her streets to be thinner, because bikes are more your thing
You pounded her walls out
Under the concept of open space
Ripped open her blouse and exposed her bricks
Laid your head in her bosom and proclaimed her yours

Bragged about her
And all the things that you have found
Forgetting she had a lover before you ever came around
He was shot in the soul, with rent he couldn’t afford
He died of sadness and bled out stories
In his last breath he called out for Los Sures
You asked Williamsburg who that was
She shrugged claiming she didn’t know
She claimed she loved you so
That she loved YOU, forever

You called 311 on her
Claimed her Salsa on Saturdays was abusive to your ears

Él les daba muy mal trato,
y a su negra le pegó …
No le pegue a la negra

Then you caressed her skyline
And photographed her
Showed her off to your friends
You even flew your mom in to see her
She made a bow out of construction tape to hide the stitches on her temple
From where you beat into her your definitions of who she was supposed to be
You made a glass circus out of her ghetto
You dressed up her hoodrats as unicorns
She ought to be grateful you made her transform
She was forgotten
Broken and alone
Nobody who was anybody wanted to ever call her a home
But since you paid for her
You reserve the right to leave her

When this fever passes
Your youth dwindles
And when the night time is no longer a good time
You will pack your bags and walk away
And she will cry and beg you to stay
Speak of the changes she made for you
You will claim you love her, you really do
But home is where the heart is
You found in her your dreams
You danced with her on clouds
But when it comes to setting roots
That is a thing to do in one’s hometown

Williamsburg will strip nude for you
And beg you to touch her, to want her like you once did
She will remind you about how she gave up
The avenue of Puerto Rico for you
Her only desire was your rejoice
Sigh and tell Williamsburg you miss your home
You will pack and go away
Williamsburg will remain
Quiet and complaisant
For her next abuser to take your place
She will pitch herself as what you made her
Hoping to attract another you
Whoring away her history to the highest bidder
So when you are old and on your land
rocking slowly in your rocking chair
Your grandchildren will ask of your travels
And on your mind she will be there
Williamsburg, and her ever-lit skyline
Just some old story for you to tell

Oelania Rubino is a writer and an artist. She was born in Barahona, Dominican Republic and immigrated to Brooklyn, New York at the age of eight. Her work has been published by TeenInk Magazine, theGrio, and The Dominican Writers Association. She is the 2019-2020 recipient of The Doris Lippman Prize in Creative Writing. She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising from St. John’s University, and is working on her first novel while pursuing an MFA from City College.

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