Puerto Rico

Photos: Joshua Spencer
Words: Adam Johnston

When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother, "What will I be?
Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?"
Here’s what she said to me


When I was a kid, maybe five or six, we sailed from the Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico, two afterthoughts in a big blue sea. The crossing lasted four days, maybe five or six – a stretch of same same days with fish circling around your toothpaste spit, games of Go Fish, naps in the hammock, bedtime already.


When I was just a child in school
I asked my teacher, "What should I try?
Should I paint pictures? Should I sing songs?"
This was her wise reply


Someone caught a kingfish. Someone caught a barracuda, its open eye staring back at you through the years. Early mornings, early nights, the sea casting a spell of endless days. A ceaseless present in an unceasing sea. And then it was over. Sound and movement, the perfect and its end. Time started again. We had arrived.


When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart, "What lies ahead?
Will we have rainbows day after day?"
Guess what my lover said


There I remember one image – a boat in the harbor, a flag falling over itself in the breeze. All I have from there is this postcard in my head, really just a collage of colors – some green, some yellow, a stroke of red, but mostly blue. I asked my mother where we were. She said this was Puerto Rico. We were here.


Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera, sera