February Fifteenth MDCCCXCVIII
My hold on Cuba is
spiritualist, like the navy men
on the battleship Maine,
buried in a bone collection
in the Cementerio
de Cristóbal Colón,
trying to learn what it means
to be Cuban and dead for one year,
before being taken back, Arlington-
assimilated and forever to
speak in Spanish because they learned
how to be Cuban, more Cuban than me.
Dead in Havana for one year,
and I living for none.
But if I could ask if you still
know of the others, their cells
drifting across the bay in contrast
to your bones, comrades unclaimed,
disinterred, tunneled from
themselves in the Caribbean Sea,
to these others, say, You gave us our
Freedom; it lasted fifty-six years—
you have doubled that in water.
If one could swim there
and feel them on the skin,
it would take all these years to forget it.
About the Author
Victoria María Castells is a graduate of McNeese State’s MFA program, and has a B.A. in English from Duke University. Her work is also forthcoming in Tinderbox Poetry Journal.