Out from Wings Press, 2016


, by Margaret Randall

Written in Patria o Muerte

When night shrouds this Havana street
its buildings might be
freshly painted,
no electrical wires struggling
for power, no despair
hanging from a full moon
pale orange in duplicitous sky.
Night the great equalizer—
what we do not see
cannot make us sad.
Fifty-six years: pride
defiant against insult,
hair-trigger designed
to bring a nation to its knees.
In daylight the ragged shells
of buildings gone to age
succumb to the tropics’
sudden downpour,
claim a redemption
written in patria o muerte,
traded in a currency
called spirit, a future not sold
to the highest bidder,
not recognized
on any stock exchange
or designed to dominate
and kill.
We live in community, or die.