Hemingway joined me at the top of the Spanish El Morro


I was memorizing the Havana skyline. It would rain that afternoon though now my skirt was wrapped under my legs and the granite was warm and rough underneath and the air was bright as tin. From here you could not see the little dogs in the street or the green short skirts of the women or the men thanking God for them or the red shirts and blue sheets hanging over the balconies or old women smoking cigars. You could see the harbor. My God! The harbor with its decrepit ships and virgin built by the freed slaves. The virgin overlooking the harbor, you could see that. Artists were walking around to look at the installations at El Morro. One installation was two hundred human feet hanging in nylons from the ceiling. The feet were wax of course. There were canons still there from the Spanish, facing the harbor and the skyline beyond that. I looked at the skyline and wondered about how the wicked things start from an innocence. The skyline of Havana rose across the harbor in a long stack of columns and doorways, adding to itself and taking away, rising in walls and arches and the fading dome of the former capital.

“Will everything be all right?” asked the American girl.

“Of course it will, if that’s what you want.” He rubbed the girl’s shoulder in circles with one hand as he leaned against the wall. The sun was climbing down. It was climbing down toward them.



Originally published in Thrush.