Thicker Than Country

By Richard Blanco

A Cuban like me living in Maine? Well,
what the hell, Mark loves his native snow
and I don’t mind it, really. I love icicles,
even though I still decorate the house
with seashells and starfish. Sometimes
I want to raise chickens and pigs, wonder
if I could grow even a small mango tree
in my three-season porch. But mostly,
I’m happy with hemlocks and birches
towering over the house, their shadows
like sundials, the cool breeze blowing
even in the summer. Sometimes I miss
the melody of Spanish, a little, and I play
Celia Cruz, dance alone in the basement.
Sometimes I miss the taste of white rice
with picadillo – so I cook, but it’s never
as good as my mother’s. I don’t miss her
or the smell of her Cuban bread as much
as I should. Most days I wonder why, but
when Mark comes home like an astronaut
dressed in his ski clothes, or I spy him
planting petunias in the spring, his face
smudged with this earth, or barbequing
in the summer when he asks me if I want
a hamberg or a cheezberg as he calls them –
still making me laugh after twelve years –
I understand why the mountains here
are enough, white with snow or green
with palms, mountains are mountains,
but love is thicker than any country.

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