First came the chirping I had so often heard the mockingbird make
Followed by a demand, Hey ese, where you from?
Coming from a white Impala, red interior
My eyes transfixed on two fuzzy dice hanging,
Swinging from the rear-view mirror
My broken English answer, From Cuba, I was made in Cuba!
The door sprung open and one of them sprinted after me,
You wise ass motherfucker, he kept yelling, chasing
Pocket knife in hand, kakis 4x’s his size
Up ahead was the San Antonio Library, Huntington Park
(not Huntington Beach, but Huntington Park,
The Hood, no surf boards, no rad waves,
Lots of liquor stores and helicopters)
Sanctuary for this Nouveau Quasimodo
Fresh arrival made of palm fronds and blue skies
Smoothened by equatorial humidity
Propelled by mamonsillo juice (look that shit up).
San Antonio Library,
A 1950’s art deco with heavy front doors
That my sweaty hands trembled in opening
But once inside all else disappeared
This was their kryptonite
Crucifix and sunlight to The Dark Prince
As if I had entered another dimension they could not infiltrate
No trespassing into this world of paper and ink of musk and silence
Where pages awaited one’s fingertips with the patience of a monk
As this ritual repeated itself
Until I learned to bow my head and murmur,
Not from here and no longer from there
Somewhere in-between, perdido.
San Antonio Library bound
Each afternoon after the last bell
San Antonio, Patron Saint of the Lost.
Wasabi Kanastoga is a Cuban born poet raised in Los Angeles. His poetry has appeared in various anthologies and reviews. He works as a counselor with victims of abuse.