Kristi Castro : An excerpt from Memories of Home, Home of Memory: An Exile Searching for Identity in a Distant Land, Dreaming of Homelands Never Seen

Fall '07 TOC

I am Cuban

(one half)

I am Cuba

one of the elusive nation

I am Cu…desgajada de su tronco

my roots are gone

chopped in exile

and yet

Me llamo Cuba

(Cuba como imposible)

I call myself

what, what do I say

la isla que se repite

and I hum this refrain as the drum beat plays on

and I hum this refrain as the drum beat plays on

 

la isla que se repite

 

and the people, the island, identidad run in place, getting nowhere folding in and again on itself in the rhythmic search

as I try to remember what I do not know

CubaCuba
cube a
cue ball
cue music
coo coo baa
baa black sheep
c—u—b—a

Cuba
cubed high stakes
square root
family tree
soupy roots
a little sweet and raw
smoke blowing
a refrain
Cuba

Cuba
bacu bacu
vaca
cooed
crude
accuse
accurse
cuisinart
arte
de nada
la Havana
have it all
vanity
la Habana
habenero

 

 

have half
half Cuban

 

 

not enough

 

 

el Cubano
bano
sangria
sangre
santo
vino
paz
Oz
an exile
of

 

 

Cuba

 

 

an exile

 

 

Cuba
foreigner
outsider

                jagged
                      identity

 

                                 k castro

Home in a Sentence

Coming home after my first year of college, walking into the grocery store with my mom, she asks, "So does it feel like home"—I grin as I look up at the flapping sign hanging on Piggly Wiggly's brick wall, red letters curling on white, the words and the smiling pig sharing in the joke as I point up at the sign that reads IT FEELS LIKE HOME and even though I keep calling my dorm and South Bend "home" that summer, I know that this place where grocery stores have the name "Piggly Wiggly" would always mingle in my bones and call to me.

 

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