It is good to own a good many things, at least soap.
To own the ice cream in your hand. To wash
your hands if there is money for it. To split
apart a cone in your hands if you hold
it too tight with feeling, and the wafer soaks
and you bite into it and there is ice
cream and what wafer is made up of.
Your teeth feel it all. You say to me
that it is time, you want to see the streets
your grandfathers now dead grew up in,
or la embajada maybe, the cemetery, and also
Coppelia, the heladería built after they were born,
fled (but before they died), to see the
ice cream there and to taste it— yes in the sixties
it was desired to have more ice cream flavors
than the United States, because that is important,
and important to try out: ice cream, milk,
sugar, whatever few flavors available, maybe
sugar cane, you who have never cut it
but you know others in Miami who had.
You drank sugar cane juice at supermarkets
growing up and taught yourself to like it.
Those cannons you desire to hear announcing
themselves in the Havana morning, not for
Cubans now, it’s for visitors like you who go visit,
and for those ghosts of grandfathers now dead,
but I don’t know if when they die they cross
the ocean or if they only tolerate
the feel of democracy and peninsulas.
If you want the exile to wither,
then it is good your grandparents do not own you,
the young can never be the same as the old in any case—
the ones who would forbid you,
you who have never seen the mystery,
or tasted anything at all, and all
for the grandfathers now dead whose ghosts
may be political, and you say you want
to taste the flavor of ice cream.
Are ghosts, or humans, more politically minded?
What do you care for when you die?