Stacie McCall Whitaker - Stone Coast, Maine

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.