Lines for Pope Francis in Cuba

by DAVID BLAIR

That scene in The Leopard when the family goes to mass and sits up front alongside the altar in high backed wood, but now this—           that nun who is young for a Cuban nun in a brown habit like a cigar wrapper sings, that big band orchestra of Cardinals in red beanies about to stand up and swing that music behind the pope, that country, we keep a jail there, that damp closet, we like the sandwich, that country that is so close and so far away and is perhaps shaped a bit like kidneys or livers, that old scholar who seems beyond grading people and thinking he is some sort of big time standard, that space they made for the priests and nuns in wheelchairs, that sense of hot, of tropical hot, and antique standing fans.

DAVID BLAIR is the author of three books of poetry, Ascension Days, Friends with Dogs, and Arsonville. He is also the author of Walk Around: Essays on Poetry and Place and a forthcoming poetry collection, Barbarian Seasons, both from MadHat Press.