Yelibert Cruz


When I was a little girl, littered with scrapes on my knees and bruises on my arms from falling off the monkey bars, my parents would take me back.

Once a year I set foot on Venezuelan soil where people had my colour skin and the streets were littered with the pungent perfume of plastic bag pointillism.

A landfill has never been so beautiful.

I used to imagine I lived in one.

A plastic bag princess, I scaled the side of my castle with bare toes sinking into black plastic. I relished in the squish of rotten fruit while avoiding the pricks of plastic forks and knives.

I wanted to take the shredded napkins and throw them in the air like a firework. The ashes raining down and landing on my unbrushed hair and sunburned flesh.

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized

a landfill is a sign of poverty.

Now I go back and the landfills are much taller, much smellier, much scarier, and much more sinister.

But a plastic bag princess once played on that castle, and in the distance

I still hear fireworks.

Yelibert Cruz Roo is a Venezuelan-Canadian storyteller who grew up in Guelph, Ontario. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a degree in English. Her work explores what it means to be a queer latinx woman, and how to navigate space in a diasporic community. In 2018 she participated in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, and in 2019 she received WLU’s Chris Heard Memorial Prize for her short story “This Kingdom Has No Heroes”