A Cuban Childhood in America

Modeled on: “An Irish Childhood in England: 1951” by Eavan Boland

The rapid-fire drone of porch-front gossip,

the incessant flow of midday gallantry from

the overly dressed Abuelitos with

their ruffled Guayaberas brought it home to me:

Exile. Ration-book powdered milk.


I didn’t know what was me and

what was truly just picked up.

The Nights –

fraught with fried Plantains and Hamburgers

all colliding in one sole sweep –

were longer than the Days


Deep, dark, musical.

The nights were danced away,

With Heineken in hand and cigar in mouth.


McDonald’s interrupted with the intercom,

the speaker system ending a night with blue and red lights.

Cuban or American?

Spare key, or original.

Two parts confusion one part labels

My ID stated American, but my picture was only a punctuation mark.

A Cuban Childhood in America.

This poem is about: 
My family
My community


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