Back in that time with the lovely name:
Maribel, Maritza, Orestes and I shared lunch.
Although it was little enough
we divided equally
the scant rice and meager soup.
One luxurious day we combined Christmas, New Year
and all the world’s holidays.
We boiled an egg
and also divided it equally.
An old wine bottle with wildflowers and water
accompanied those meals.
Today Maribel lives in Segovia
in a village with the lovely name:
Cerezo de arriba,
Maritza is in Toronto,
Orestes is the pastor at a Baptist church,
and I’m here, still lunching in the same place.
Although it may not seem so at first glance,
we continue to divide the nation
in equal portions.
Translated by Margaret Randall
Originally published in World Literature Today 89, no. 5 (September 2015).
Laura Ruiz Montes (b. 1966, Matanzas) has published several poetry collections, most recently Otro retorno al país natal and Los frutos ácidos, both of which won Cuba’s National Critics Prize. She is the senior editor at Ediciones Vigía and editor in chief of Vigía magazine.
Margaret Randall (b. 1936, New York) lived in Cuba from 1969 to 1980. In 1970 and 2011 she was a judge of the Casa de las Américas literary contest. Her books include To Change the World: My Years in Cuba (2009) and Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary: She Led by Transgression, just out from Duke University Press.