Kevin Young

NEW YEAR LETTER

 

1. Necropolis

 

Today cleaning I found

pictures of my trip to Cuba

legally, back when

 

that was still

possible. The blurred 

lights of Havana

 

from above, the heat

that greeted you at night

at the airport. A thousand

 

taxi drivers in the dark. The hot rods

we rode in were from an America

now rotting in barns, or restored

 

in a rich man's garage.

Later, we'd ride one

to the Necropolis--

 

miles & miles of the dead,

of monuments & small

homemade shrines—aren't

 

they all—a bird's black

wing, a doll

of a child. Not a toy,

 

you understand. The Americans

wanting to take pictures

& even the girl

 

in her fading dress 

as if the dead need nothing

except our memories. The palm trees

 

swaying among the stones

 and just beyond, near

the fence, the smolder

 

& smoke & scent--

not unpleasant--of coffins

now empty, or emptied,

 

being burnt. 

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