The Ration in Carolina, Puerto Rico

By Dorsía Smith Silva


And it begins on a spontaneous Thursday

at 9 am with a laughed-at reminder that you

will only have water on alternating days: 24

hours yes, 24 hours no. Pause: fill the bathtubs,

wash clothes, scrub the floors, water the plants,

fill buckets, bottles, and jugs, place the buckets

in the bathrooms, and line the hallways with

the bottles and jugs. Illusion: You wait for the

rain to come like a windup clock without reference

and look for El Corraízo to shy away from the apron-tied

annotations of PELIGROSO markers. Another thing

to do: hear the warmed-up excuses—drought,

sediment blocks 60% usage of water, government

does not have the money to clean the riverbed,

blah, blah, blah. It is foolish to pray for the money

to buy a cistern, book a trip to the hotel pool, or

dream about an extra hour of water. You might as

well put on your cowboy hat and look for a new saint.


Dorsía Smith Silva is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a Professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Superstition Review, Porter House Review, Portland Review, Pidgeonholes, SAND, and elsewhere. She is also the editor of Latina/Chicana Mothering and the co-editor of six books.