Examination After the Panic Attack: Mosaic

A New Poem by Noel Quiñones

February 2, 2018  By Noel Quiñones

Examination After the Panic Attack: Mosaic

Jason says resilience is more or less

   genetic for us,                   I more or less.                         I settle

the tie by cracking                      myself into seeds                of a lesser body.           I moor

myself to the garden’s bed,       I shake that more into a puddle of sweat               there it is,

    a reflection           of my god is that enough water          for any person to get drunk on

and call itself a Moor              and now I am a lost parade in El Barrio          with its blood

             balloons draining into the sky.                    What a trick I am          I want

to bring all of this to the party.      I call the Latina therapist Jason recommends         she asks

              if I’ve ever been to therapy               before, I say no,              she chuckles

Well, it’s necessary. I laugh                 the way my mother laughs          in front of white people

 I caress my throat,             pet until it is a begging,                     my Adam’s apple

 at its first willow,                my hands cocoon it’s worrisome                        indents, the places

where it has forgotten to quench itself.                                I have 6,000 fingers,

     they are brown                                   and indigenous,                     but never enough.

They do not cover my face at work,                       in public                     my students say I am not

a real person of color,               I want                   this Latina therapist to tell them

      they are wrong.                  They are made of glass,                         they are slowly erecting

a cathedral on my back,                                        it is St. Brendan’s church, where I was raised.

  The stained glass is a mestizo of light              how they play tricks

on the eyes                         call themselves many colors               but you see only


Noel Quiñones
Noel Quiñones
Noel Quiñones is an AfroBoricua writer, performer and educator born and raised in the Bronx. His work has appeared in Pilgrimage Press, Kweli Journal, Winter Tangerine Review, Asymptote and elsewhere.

More Story
Lit Hub Daily: February 1, 2018 16 books you should read this February. | Literary Hub This is August Wilson’s town: on the glories of a mid-century...

Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.