Four Poems by Virgil Suarez
A Cuban Dream in Three Parts
I am dreaming again
of breasts. Mountainous,
slick with morning dew breasts.
A golden rooster pecks
at my eyes, its red wattle
like a hand with fingers.
A flame tongue.
I am a child again, trying
to climb a pyramid of green
coconuts in the Chinese bodega
Someone hands me a mechete.
When I start to hack them in half,
white doves flutter out to the street.
Every skull keeps a secret.
There is a bearded man in my dream,
he is dressed in a military uniform.
His finger nails are sharpened like thorns.
When he looks down at me, I see
a body dangling from a ceiba trees branch
in his almond-colored eyes.
It is my father, a gardenia blooms
in his mouth. He spits petals at me.
In each is written my own demise.
Poem to Eliades Ochoa and Cuarteto Patria’s Rendition of “Saludo Compay.”
The oxen cart driven to the sugar cane fields,
the look on the driver’s faces, years of hard
work had hardened their skin, their hands,
this rhythm of the “vayven” of the carretas,
the smell of molasses thick in the air,
children playing with tires in the dust, eyes
cloudy, ashen from looking at their futures
in this same land of the guarjiros, this logic
of staying rooted in one region, one place
until the forests and fields call you back,
a greeting to the land, bohios in the mist
of rain, a woman breast-feeding a child
on a hammock, a horse passing in the night.
The rooster sings to usher in the new day
in this land of little change. A lizard catches
a fly. A shoe falls into a well and it echoes
the sound of laughter. What the distances
tell you of how to find your way back now.
The empty mocking bird nests
built into the Y crooks of branches
is enough circumstantial evidence.
In the spring, after the thaw,
the birds found the dead body,
plucked hair one strand at a time,
lined their twig nests with it.
Now the forensics team works
under a tent to keep the sun out
their eyes. Nobody knows how the corpse
came to this place, so near. Only
when a white orb of skull showed
through the moist dirt and a woman walker
mistook it for a budding mushroom,
did they find it. An infants body.
A crown of trees around it. A decade of under
brush it’s blanket. Now the trees
are bare again. The child rises
To speak its name, yearning for the way home.
When the Word “Balsa” Becomes Art
is a word
the sea loves
a broken raft
taking in water
between the sea
its own vocabulary