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In Memory of Xiong Huang

who disappeared from Shanghai and whose body, his brother believes, is now on display in New York City in an exhibition of plastinated cadavers In some province a hemisphere from here you tapped at your grandmother’s kneecap, her elbow crooked in [...]

Tom, René, and José on horseback, Alta Habana. (Image courtesy of the author)

Patria y Muerte

My father wanted out. In a matter of days we’d trotted through a vigil for a Cuban childhood interrupted. I had anticipated creeping toward these emotional watersheds. But Hurricane Gustav had thrown us off, tightened the trip’s deadline. So we darted from spot to spot: the house where Rifé brought my father to live; where my father was put to work the next year (La Unica still in operation but with only an elderly woman idly guarding sacks of flour); to Quivicán, where the past crashed down in fits but the dreaded specter of politics was salved by pork and rum and artful bullshitting, by legends of the farm and the physical reality of René’s grave, the mystery of his whereabouts finally made palpable. Through it all, we never stopped sweating. My father, for one, was visibly thinner in a week’s time, his belt, notched by habit, sagging below his waist button. Rather than clearing the air, the storm had brought a worse heat in its wake.

After Reading “The Sleepers”

I am amazed, there is nothing you can do for me, I am content.
I see my mother and father, the night pervades them and enfolds them.  
Everything I've said about them, I take back, and yet I still maintain what I have said.

Eric Clapton’s Lover

Franklin Fisher and his wife, Beth, were born on the same day of March, two years apart. Franklin was 39 years old, and Beth was 41. Beth liked chiles relenos, Bass ale, gazpacho; Franklin liked mild foods: soufflés, quiche, pea soup. How could she drink Bass ale?

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