Rifle Grease, Gun Powder, Dead Fish
Andres Rojas

            Escambray, Cuba

So the newspapers let go
like oysters, the radio waves
lobster-boiled in the censored air: we
tucked our weapons

from the seafood warehouse,
climbed heavy at the gunnels
to the rising mountains.

(A barrel’s flowers:
red scallop over the left nipple,
red scallop on the right,
burst of paella from the belly.)

We bathed fording a stream
or in rain. Our skins
were dead cattle, our breath

wet hides. They could flush us
by our reek. We
hanged informants. They
shot prisoners. Every one

of us died. Everyone
lay open like eyes.

That night, a cloudburst scraped our stench
like scales off the bloody grass.


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