Havana I / obediah michael smith


Lord bless where Cuba and I meet
like river and sea
I pray we merge deep

bright red tomatoes
full of sunshine
to swallow like wine

unable to burn down, burn up
all you’d imagined you could in Cuba

Castro biting out big chunks
each turn you make
each step you take

outside Cuba, in Habana Libre,
where to go, how to get inside Cuba

where I might stretch my pocket
half full of US dollars

have to be able to stretch
what I’ve got

like goat skin for a drum


Excerpted by permission of the author from Hymns to Him: A Poem of Cuba


Obediah Michael Smith has published twelve books of poems, a short novel and a cassette recording of his poems.  He has published widely in journals, and his work has begun to be translated into Spanish and included in anthologies and journals in South America, Mexico and Spain.