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In Puerto Rico, Waiting for Power, for Tourists, for the Flowers

Repeating Islands

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This one truly breaks my heart. Mireya Navarro (The New York Times) writes, “Months after Hurricane Maria, the island is struggling to regain its balance. The flora tell a melancholy story.”

Last November, with Puerto Rico thrown into chaos after Hurricane Maria, I was frantically trying to reach a funeral home in San Juan. My dear cousin Alma Otero-Pérez, a free-spirited poet who was my mentor and model growing up on the island, had died overnight at her home for patients with Alzheimer’s. I loved her and the loss pained me, but as her guardian, I needed to focus on medical and legal paperwork and making the necessary funeral arrangements from New York.

I had a relationship with the reliable funeral home that had guided my family through another emotional passage when my mother died several years ago. I called, but the telephones were still out months after…

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