Caught and Released

Kiara Abreu

Captured within your own landscape;

it’s an unexplainable feeling.

Getting out, escaping.

That’s the feeling

that sticks to us,

like the sand on our feet,


Will we make it?

Or be forced to return

to dysfunction.


Confined to small houses with large families,

little work, silenced freedoms.

Living an illusion that our land is all:

bright colored buildings and refurbished vintage cars,

Cigars and naturally aged rum—stained tongues,

café Cubano streaming down the streets,

as salsa music bounces off the walls,

and aspiring baseball players trying to be heroes,

and fishermen landing paychecks.

It’s far past incorrect, in fact,

we did not want this.

We want to run into the future,

To leave all of the fear behind,

for a new future that holds fast.


The pulsating motions

rile the gut, but still coax.

Strangers surround you—they’re family now.

Different backgrounds, stories aboard.

You’ve much in common.

Shoulders brush up against each other

holding one another’s weight.

Uneasiness comes in waves—

sticks to our darkening skin.

A lingering reminder of capture.


It’s the shortest trip across sea, coast to coast, through

the warm Gulf Stream.

The longest minutes of our lives.

The possibility,

makes you believe you’re the one being left behind.

Unlike the many you left

back on the island.

Who enviously hope

you make it.


See the coast?

relief dives from the confines of our hearts

and swims in our veins.

Pure freedom sprays across our faces.

That hurt the most.

Golden specks of sunlight flitter,

the best invitation to give.

To hold back from jumping too soon.

Ten toes smash into freedom.

That’s all it took to change one person’s life

among the billions before and after.