Cuba, 1961

by Matt Dantes

guavas halved
on the chopping block and the executing
machete sweeping through fields
of sugar cane near where

            we took our machines outside the
            gunblazes of Havana
            and stood naked to the waist while          
            your father garroted the pigs
            to the chopping           block
            —a wooden stump haggard by the
            old pick-up
            paper fire crumpling—
            behind the kitchen

window, where your mamí
sweating in fumes of garlic (ajo)
frijoles    y    tostones    y        cebollas  
(and tobacco)
awaits the enumerations:
pork     azucar  and us to come back from

            the dark drum night of
            dusk and doom,
            hearing the gunlight of
            Havana blazing away
            and you lit me a cigar and—
            drowned and covered in the sweat
            of ferns and butterflies—I

thanked you before
looking  away
the machete swinging
and absconded with the heads
of the pigs right before I turned back
and heard         the silence of
old Havana in the gundrudging

          of our night     a mosquito
          eve of cockroaches warm
          drunk night when your mother
          licked the knife and cut the pork 
          off of the bone, clean.


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