John Brandi

Issue #
January 31, 2017

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.

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