by Jillian
(Spokane, WA)

Son las ocho de la noche,
in a corner bar, in old Havana, where the smell of arroz y frijoles wafts through
the air, smiles are the silent accompaniment of the sweetly whining trumpet,
and Ibrahim croons to me in his hoarse morenito voice
tainted with age and Cohibas and melancolia, reminding me

of el amor de loca juventud.

Yes, mine for you…

and in veinte anos, it will no longer matter,
but as the cigar smoke slinks through the corner bar

and I trace a Jackson Pollock drip across the glazed tiles

in my heels and twirling floral sundress, guided by a mocha man whose steps and advances are bolder
than the café I just drank,

I yearn for the gregarious aw-schucks drink of water in handsomely-fitting glasses who,

if he were here, would be slouching over a stool at the bar,
clad in a tourist-grade guayabera one tone paler than his ivory skin. He'd be

adjusting his glasses and unbuttoning his collar a few buttons to relieve himself from the discomfort
brought on by a humid evening and the provocative masterpiece in motion he watches--

two ambulant painters co-creating Ritmo y Alma.

Maybe he’s jealous—oh, I hope he is!
But I suppose that doesn’t matter; as I glance at him mid-twirl, I can't help but grin and pretend my dental ostentation is for

el guajiro con sangre de Son...

I see the reflection of his square lenses behind the flickering candle, and in the orange glow, I see him smiling.

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