Courtesy of Rafael Alcides for Bad Handwriting

For you I could not ask, Laura Pollán, that you rest in peace like we do for the currently deceased, because you will never rest in peace.

On the contrary.

Pollen deposited by the wind on plazas and streets in its new form of life which for you is just starting, with more spirit such that you’ll never spend your days replicating yourself, multiplied by your Ladies in White in glory until, of your country is made, an entire island of Lauras, as I now remember her and celebrate her — I swear to God I’ve seen it — the new day is coming, and it’s here, pushing at the door.

To get rid of your body in the act was, I’m sure, the order. Cremate her at once. Do not permit her, in any way, a goodbye, a kiss, and a hand on your coffin from those who will continue applauding you on feeling you pass, invisibly, through the streets making skirts fly and caps point straight forward.

And when at the end of all this came the very considered authorization from above, it was not out of mercy nor from decency; it was, Laura, that they were threatened by this nuclear bomb named Berta Soler. The farewell obtained — that goodbye which lasted all night and part of the next day for the deceased, for you it was reduced to two hours from midnight and this — posted with midnight passed already, when all transportation has died, the city has been turned off and the world sleeps.

Such dread for Laura Pollán, such superstitious terror, such huge nervousness. You surprised them like Agramonte against the Spanish, that they’d burnt that son of Camagüey — according to a careless but emotional poem of my school days — because, even after death, his body frightened the King’s soldiers.

But Agramonte was riding a horse, Laura. Agramonte rode around armed with a machete and a shotgun, cutting heads off at a gallop with the enthusiasm of a liberator, able to hide himself in the mountains with his column if the enemy exceeded him in number or if in combat he’d run out of ammunition.

And you, Laura, walked on foot. On foot with your legendary Ladies In White through the Havana streets, on foot and without so much as a little garden along the side of the road where you could take refuge from the claws, the teeth, the stones, and insults. And you came to pray, not to kill. To pray. To pray for the political prisoners first, and then to pray for Cuba, carrying — like a regulation weapon — facing the wild pack, suddenly taken from a hat, a humble gladiola.

With no offense meant to Agramonte (may God preserve me!), today I shall stay with you, Laura Pollán. With you and your Ladies In White for peace.


Translated by: JT

October 17 2011