Leo

owner of the kiosk in Arroyo Naranjo.
She tended her shop & made her living
& introduced me to sweets: mercocha,
boniatillo, dulce de coco, guarapo.
When my father gathered with his friends
at the corner kiosk, they often spoke
among themselves about things
better-left unspoken, anti-revolution
talk, the kind that got you killed
if someone heard & snitched.
So Leo, outspoken & brave,
braver than all those men who drank
her cafecitos, never opted for silence,
so she spoke her mind on things
& spoke out loud. Wasn't afraid.
& the men liked her because like them,
she was gusano & like them she liked women
& like most of them, her fate became
imprisonment, & later, not too much later,
death. The kiosk was boarded up &
left to rot & so for the children
of Arroyo Naranjo, there would never
be any more sweets & for the men
a place to gather & talk & plot
some essentials that kept so many
going back to Leo's kiosk.

by Virgil Suárez

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