by Yousi Mazpule
When my wife Elena decided to leave me for her
newly arrived balsero cousin, for months I
weaned myself of my addiction to her flesh
fueled by alcohol and the occasional smile
of our daughter. Even at age five she knew
the turbulent waters she’d heard hundreds
of survival stories about were not just in
that shark-infested ocean between her mother’s
country and her father’s, but also rippled through
her life making her parents bicker, making them hate.
She’d ask me why behind my thick glasses,
my eyes were always watery, mapped with
tiny red threads that never faded.
My eyesight, I’d say to her, is bad since I was your age.
My eyes have always betrayed me, have always missed
small details like when my wife stayed two more weeks
during her first trip back to the island, or
the scratches on her sunburned back she got on the beach.
Cojimar is a beautiful beach but full of tiny little crabs
that attack you when you least expect, she said.
Or the $200 dollars a month she started sending her family
as soon as she came back from Havana.
They failed me when I did not see that joining
The Brothers to the Rescue organization was a boldly
patriotic move for her. For a year, I checked my vision
every three months, trying to understand why I could
no longer see her get goose bumps when I touched her,
why I could not see a gringo was just not good enough.
© 2007 prickofthespindle.com
Yousi Mazpule is a professor of business communication skills at FIU. She has been published in local magazines including Genration N and Coral Gables Living. She is finishing an MFA in Creative Writing at FIU and lives in Miami with her husband and son.