Splinters

I’m walking down the boardwalk, feeling the bay breeze on my skin, not enjoying it in the carefree psych-meds-commercial kind of way, but using it to protect myself. This is the boardwalk where I’d run with my dad, my smile incomplete because of fallen baby teeth, my hair all blond curls, my eyes green and glued to my towering father. Right now it’s silent, the only sounds here are my thoughts and the water lapping at the stone under the boardwalk. Those days where we were both together and happy were few and far between, clumped together at the beginning …

PALM TREES by Lucas Baker

Bearded men descend from the mountains —peasants riding stolen trucks. Red slogans. Green fatigues. Rifles thrust into the air like spears of sugarcane. Dark throats coated in cigar smoke chant the songs of struggle.   The streets smell of seasoned lechón and open bottles of rum. The Dictator’s gone. Now the people are free to play bongos, maracas, and smiles, caramel legs free to dance Island dances. They’ve burned the old history books— No more yanquís, no more Batista.   A man watches from a penthouse suite in the Hilton. The wave is coming his way. He sweats through his …

So I Called Her Susan

I was at one of my favorite coffee shops today. The woman working the cash register had worked there for years. I ordered a large coffee. $2.45. Her name tag read Susan. I gave her three singles and decided I would say “Thank you, Susan” when she gave me my change back. But I felt this impersonal divide between us, like maybe there was something wrong with calling her by her name. I saw her old veiny fingers count out the change and thought of my Dad’s fingers. They looked very similar to hers. If she were to pass away, …