we drove out of the city towards the mountains
as the haze of Havana disappeared in the mirror
a ’51 Ford cut in front of our path
belching black smoke
out of its’ sixty-three year old muffler

we rolled through the country side
past the proposed grand canal ditch
and into those hills
that we were told looked like China

at a small private diner tucked off of the road
my wife ate the chicken
and I had the shredded beef
there was lots of salad, beans and rice
tender yucca with sweet oil

in the mountains we found the caves
and in the caves a river
and on the river in the cave
we took a motorboat

the motorboat went down that river
and out the other side
of the mountain

where a man was offering rides
on a saddled long-horned oxen
the beast didn’t seem to mind

driving back to the city
we were quieter

as we watched the Cuban countryside
roll out and away from us
in every single direction

Michael Dennis