“The Island Within” by Richard Blanco

twitter: @eugenio_fouz

[Richard Blanco, poet]


The Island Within


for Ruth Behar

“I’m still thinking about your porch light

like a full moon casting a foggy halo

in the frigid air last night, the bare oaks

branching into the sky like nerve endings

inches away from the frozen stars,

the pink gables of your Victorian home

protesting yet another winter for you

captive in Ann Arbor as you practice

mambo by the fireplace. I’m following

your red-velvet shoes to conga beats

and bongo taps taking your body, but

not your life, from the snow mantling

your windows outside, 1,600 miles

away from Cuba. I’m tasting the cafecito

you made, the slice of homemade flan

floating in burnt sugar like the stories

you told me you can’t finish writing,

no matter how many times you travel

through time back to Havana to steal

every memory ever stolen from you.”


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