Flor de Alma

A little girl in white chiffon pinned with the Sacred
Heart skips through hopscotch squares, her feet two
asterisks in the lemon-colored rain. And she is how it
would look, I imagine, my own soul if it could escape
my coat and walk this world of bells and peeling
facades. Passing José Martí on his marble horse, she
reaches the Pier of Light and joins the queue for the
Casa Blanca boat. Green air, green eyes in copper faces.
Engine oil and carnations on the breeze. With her head
tilted to the opal moon above Havana, she fills me with
the fragile liberty, the innocuous grace of Cuba—a
poise, a coolness in the face of adversity. As the boat
putters off, the girl in white becomes a heatwave, a
star lost among ball caps, backslap, spandex hips,
thick chatter of politics and apocalypse. In the ringing
and shuffling she is there with that perfect look of a
transparent diamond, a rose in the teeth of the sea.