The day before Myradis Guzmán died, the tropical sun boiled off some of the rainwater that shrouded and smoothed the cracks in Havana’s sidewalks. She sorted grains of rice and hung out laundry under the watchful eye of a statuette of Yemayá. She chatted with neighbors on her way to ETECSA. When she arrived, she secured her place as la última and slipped into a wisp of shade to wait her turn. After her heart suddenly stopped, her body remained in her house for over a week, while her brother Yordani navigated bureaucratic tapestries of red tape. Waiting was so much a part of life that it continued after death. In that limbo where the paint continued to shrivel and peel, Yordani opened all the windows as night fell, and friends came by with bottles of rum to toast the departed.
Ray Ball grew up in a house full of snakes. She is a history professor and a poetry editor at Coffin Bell. Ray enjoys getting walked by her hound/husky mix twice a day. Her sophomore chapbook of poems Lararium came out with Variant Lit in December. You can find her fiction in Cabinet of Heed, Ellipsis Zine, and Twist in Time.
Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower