In the Land of Tropical Martyrs

by Dariel Suarez

the children have no books
but their grandfathers' books.
They repeat the words their grandfathers said
and speak in the tone their grandfathers spoke,
a devastating drone, like propaganda.

The mothers weep for their children
the way helpless mothers should.
They crack and whisk the eggs,
talk to hand-me-down statues of saints
who savor their tobacco and rum.

The fathers just try to keep themselves from drowning.

Meanwhile a country awakes
to the scent of coffee inside dim-lit kitchens
where old radios muffle the imploring silence
of apron-strapped grandmothers.

Dariel Suarez was born in Havana, Cuba, where he lived until 1997. He now resides in South Florida with his wife. He recently graduated from Florida International University, where he was the recipient of five literary awards. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in several publications, including The Florida Book Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, Foundling Review, and The Acentos Review, among others.