Aurora Lights


They found her under the Marlton Pike overpass, alongside train yard tracks.  A frozen, joker-red grin.  One of many zombie-eyed banshees calmed by vialed crystals of enterprising pimps.

Aurora-light dreaming Vilma, never emerged from Camden’s coordinates: 39.9400° N, 75.1050° W

Wasn’t a tambourine-rhythmed Latina shouting,

Yo sé que Cristo viene, y espero su venida.

y el que no está preparado con El no va pa’ arriba.

Pa’ arriba, pa’ arriba, pa’ arriba y no pa’ bajo subiendo, subiendo, subiendo y no bajando.

Oil-faced, pizza-skinned.

Hard-haired Afro-Latinas.

Dog-eared bibles in tow, denied the store-front Jesus-gatherers with her haughty, Boricua pride.

Vilma oiled her forehead and nape—endured the burn.

Withstood the uncomfortable for hot-combed hair.

Mahogany-skinned--Hailing from Loiza like her island-chained ancestors.


Wilfredo tricked her on Federal Street and Marlton Pike.

A Tuesday-night contrast to chaliced-cup Sunday wine.

Hardly peopled.

Thin as white-wafer sacraments.

Kramer Hill Catholicism.

Closed her China eyes and conjured up the scent of stale breath and Brut.

Take her sin, sad-eyed Jesus.

Take her homage candle, cross-hangin Jesus.

Listen to the many of her men, Father Patrick Connolly

Ten rote Our Father’s; Five staccato Hail Mary’s

Absolved weekly.

Warm, navy-velvet car seat awaited, Wilfredo inside.

Vilma, walking slower this time, hard-hearted, fear-filled.

Vilma, wishing she could travel to the Northern Lights of Yukon.

So catch her in that green and purple light; take her from her concrete-cold misery, God.

Before Tuesday appears once again.



  • Christina Hubbard
    3 years ago

    Oh, my friend. This is exquisite! What’s the back story? (You can email me.)

    • Jessica Galán
      3 years ago

      In the late 1980’s I went to Wildwood with my aunt and some of her friends. You know those beautiful girls that you can’t hang with because their older than you? That was her. She became addicted to drugs and became a prostitute who contracted HIV and died. Never got out of Camden–a hard place to raise family.

      ; )

  • Sharon A Gibbs
    3 years ago

    Beautiful! Each time I read this, I see more… and feel more of her story.

    • Jessica Galán
      3 years ago


  • Develyn Gutierrez
    3 years ago

    Bellisima historia amiga!! Triste pero parte de la vida!! Love the song and remember singing it too. Pa lante amiga!

    • Jessica Galán
      3 years ago

      Gracias, Dev. Abrazote

  • I got chills. Granitos de frio en todo el cuerpo. God has given you immense talent. You remind me of my incredible former professor, Dr. Grisel Yolanda Acosta. She makes her home in the Bronx these days. She is fierce and she is true. I love the way you made these words malleable for me, as the reader, to take notice and to take heart. Sometimes poetry makes us uncomfortable. The truth often does. Dios te bendiga.

    • Jessica Galán
      3 years ago

      Wanted to try something creative after that tumultuous and exhausting book proposal experience. Thanks, mi’ja

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