By Laura Ruiz Montes Translated by Margaret Randall

, by Margaret Randall


In some other city it’s always surprising to find
what we expect of this country’s nights.
Surprising to find that the scent
my grandmother celebrated for years
still exists.
1800 isn’t only an eau de cologne.
Neither is it just a number,
but something refused at every border
yet still seductive
as all that is prohibited tends to be.
I open the flask of 1800 that has
become a Pandora’s box
—with its residue of naphthalene—
Sindo Garay’s afternoon
falling on the Bayamesa’s perfect breasts
and beside her, in a tiny cubbyhole,
my grandmother’s handkerchief,
still imbued with the scent that remains
in this tremulous and lonely Cuban room.