Tourists in Cuba

Tourists in Cuba


Stumbling in the sweltering dark
the flash from my phone illuminates
a shadow slipping through my shadow
a lizard
stuck-still, closed-mouth smiling
body curved, a question mark
challenging me.


I tip-toe around the intruder
inch towards the bathroom
but the flash caught two shadows
mocking me in the corner.

A black beetle
the size of a peso and
the lizard                    still there
preparing to salsa to a rhythm
I couldn’t hear.

In that moment
I didn’t know who I despised more:
the native bug who would crawl over my territory or
the lizard who would Congo-line up the dancehall of my legs.
I know
I’m being dramatic but
they know
they shouldn’t be here
on this resort
that’s lush with the uninhabited tangles of green dollars
rum gleaming in barrels like treasure
bundles of cacao so rich
the Atlantic
beats itself shapeless


my local tour guide even told me
                 the land is seasick with the cloying sweetness
                 of a land reliant on sugar
                 that’s so White
                 it never leaves.


Seems like everyone’s a poet here!


But don’t they know
a proper vacation needs the foreign
pushed outside in front of a pink sun-faded dilapidated building
next to a Caribbean blue ’50s convertible with
cigars propped in-between their lips
so I can capture them
in a photo?


The lizard swallowed the beetle whole


and the whole of me sighed in relief
one less primitive pest
but the lizard was set
on staying where it was
I swore the thing would’ve devoured me.


Wouldn’t you be afraid of something
that makes a home out of someone’s

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