Isbel Díaz Torres
HAVANA TIMES – Snow will never fall in Cuba. This, and other mysterious reasons, made me write a poem titled En el nevado pais de los mendigos (“In The Snow-Covered Country of the Beggars”) years ago, borrowing the title from a piece by the beloved Cuban poet Fina Garcia Marruz.
This post is also crowned by a verse from one of Fina’s pieces. For me, the snow and Fina levitate together, indissolubly, as substances so simple and unalloyed they cannot be penetrated.
We’ll never have snow in Cuba, I was saying, which is why the experience of touching it, feeling it cold and painful in the palm of the hand, is something I considered impossible, as a far-off dream.
However, I’ve held the snow between my fingers.
First I saw it through the bus window, covering the grass that hugs the road, on the aged conifers that line the fields and lose themselves on the horizon, on the wooden fences.
At a brief pause during my journey, I was able to grasp the incomprehensible chaos of the tiny snowflakes, swirling freely to fill the air with light, unpredictable gusts of wind and kind drizzles.
Later, when I got off the bus, the contact was direct, full, total.
Away with the cap and gloves! Delicate needles of ice dug into my forehead and vanished immediately. What a beautiful kiss.
All the while, the asphyxiating hot cement tiles in my room in Havana, where the high temperatures torture my loved one day in and day out, where I have sweated in both the summer and winter heat, resonated through the air.
Before I arrived at the home that took me in, on the gray flower beds, I saw small children who had finished building the first snowman of the winter: misshapen, rustic, ghostly…and tender.
Lifting itself off the dirty ground, half-drunk, it said to me: “As you see, Isbel, it’s nothing out of this world.”
And I looked at it, ecstatic, tears swelling in my eyes.