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Photograph by Bear Guerra

Exile in White

It’s Friday morning. As has been his custom for almost three decades, Miguel Natividad Borrayo is dressed in white, from his T-shirt to his shoes, to honor those imprisoned for challenging the Castro regime—men like him, who spent seventeen years doing hard labor.

“White symbolizes peace,” says Miguel. “It’s how I protest.” But there was nothing peaceful about what got him in trouble to begin with. Back in 1961, he was a thirty-two-year-old career officer in the Cuban Navy. He’d been a staunch supporter of US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista until Fidel Castro’s successful guerrilla uprising in 1959.

Photograph by Elizabeth Felicella

Omnipresence

Tiffany—“like Tiffany & Co.”—has lived here her whole life. Her hair is woven into a neat French twist. “Cops come and sit in here,” she says, waving her hand at the shadows on the small plaza around us. A white plastic bag rustles in a spring tree. Tufts of white flowers cover the branches like a sweater, against the chill of early evening. We raise our voices over the noise of a generator, one of a score of rumbling machines across the city that has flooded housing projects with chemical light, noise, and the guise of safety for five years.

Tiffany needs to fix dinner; her kids are hungry. Her forty-first birthday is coming up. Tomorrow she’s going to a pole-dancing class with friends. “You look good,” I say. She tosses a hello to a passing neighbor who’s pushing an overflowing grocery cart. Her gold hoop earrings sparkle.

Photo by Cédric Von Niederhäusern

Dreams of My Mother

  1. My grandmother Mary died last November at ninety-three, after six months of at-home hospice. It was on a Tuesday. By Thursday, my mother and I were in Philadelphia getting out the vote for Hillary Clinton. Mom was exhausted after a ye [...]

Photo by Julie Dermansky

Take ‘Em Down

1. Without their torches and semiautomatics, the alt-righters appeared aesthetically adrift. They had their gloves and flak jackets but, lacking the accessories wielded in Charlottesville, their domineering image suffered. Perhaps this is why they [...]

Photo by James Sprankle

Faith and Its Limits

1. Connor’s only two, but he’s big for his age. Healthy. Bumping and charging around Dr. Katie’s examination room like it’s play time. Terrific two. And he is healthy, except that he needs a new liver. Sooner rather than later. His blood t [...]