- Miss Trinidad and Tobago
In Santo Domingo, the sky’s air shines its brightest blue.
People welcomed me as the hummingbird of Trinidad and Tobago, with my feathered dress with gold accordion wings.
I became the first black woman to win, to claim the crown,
erase racial barriers, or so I thought on my twin-island nation.
The hummingbird moved closer at every stage of the competition.
Carnival bands played for days, even weeks— soaring by day, and singing by night.
One television set was centered in a plaza square because beauty belongs to all people,
like barricades with fingered bars holding on to color. [End Page 248]
Jina Ortiz has published in a number of periodicals, including the Sahara, Afro-Hispanic Review, Calabash, Poui, New Millennium Writings, Solstice Magazine, The Caribbean Writer, New Works Review, and Worcester Review. She received the MFA in creative writing from The Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA, and residency fellowships from the Art Omi/Ledig House International Writers’ Residency, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), Vermont Studio Center.