THE ROOM YOU JUST LEFT is a poetry collection written from the perspective of a female speaker as she navigates relationships, culture, and identity via the lens of the Cuban-American experience. The collection is divided into three sections: Paleotempestology, Machete, and Saturn Returning. The first illustrates the often turbulent nature of romantic relationships, the second highlights the speaker’s culture, and the third is a singular long poem offering both insights and questions about what it means to arrive at the age of twenty-seven.
The collection is composed of free verse, prose, experimental, and formal poetry, and includes code-switching to illuminate the speaker’s family dynamic and dueling dualities within herself. Many poems revolve around mortality, and more specifically, the speaker’s relationship with her father and his descent into old age, as well as an imagined mythology for her mother’s family while detailing their struggles as exiles.
Another major theme is romantic relationships, heartbreak, and traversing the modern dating world. Other themes explored include childhood, memory, and the body, utilizing narrative as well as surrealistic techniques. It draws influence from the intense Latina-feminist pulse of Sandra Cisneros, the revelatory sexuality of Sharon Olds, the imaginative whimsy of Kiki Petrosino, and the dark wit of Frank O’Hara.