The guayaba tree grew gnarled, remembering the way
back to the earth. The mockingbird perched on a branch
long enough to preen and listen to the first signs of rain,
a ripening of clouds, a strumming guitar playing a decima
guajira
, the high notes tweaking in the afternoon, the old
story of long lost love, those gone away to another land,
water beckons their names now. Those lost at war
in Vietnam and in Angola, the wind speaks their names.

A snail is determined to carry its own weight up the bark
of this tree, and when the rain begins, a drop knocks it
down to the roots. Worms wriggle their way out of damp
ground, move on to the cement. Droplets dangle like pearls
from the leaves and branches, fall when the bird takes
flight. Nothing better to do now than watch, count
the blessings, how my parents often spoke of how utterly
lucky I’ve been to have left Cuba when I did, otherwise…

And they never speak of such fate, my other fates, aunque
tu me has echado en el abandono…
“Lagrimas Negras,”
the old tune my grandmother so loved. Song of black tears,
black memories, like golden dust, settling now after a long rain.