Havana in December

It’s warm and raining and the woman in the passenger seat of the cab offers me a cigarette. It’s unfiltered but I smoke it anyway. I’m sitting in the back of a baby blue 1950s Chevrolet leaving Havana.

I found myself most often drunk, wandering, lost, unafraid.

I saw Santeria—not being practiced, just reminders it was: a severed pig’s head
in a big plastic container on the street corner and live chickens crammed into a room where two men sat in folding chairs, looking outside, smoking cigars.

I thought about sacrifice. How little I know of it.

I met a bartender named Ariel who taught me how to Salsa between pouring mojitos. He took me into the bar’s walk-in freezer, then took me into his mouth like I was guava fruit. He said te amo, baby when he put me in a taxi at 2 A.M. I said it back and almost meant it.

I found ruin and salvation and I loved them the same.

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