The letters from Cuba
are like secret friends I have yet
to meet. I will find each one out--
their handwriting, how an "n"
looks like an "es" or how one
write in all caps and connects
every phrase with a comma.
These are friends in a town
with few known faces.
They take me to the only other
letter I have translated, for Marta,
asking for money to get her papers.
Today, there is no way to translate
Así es la vida with its finality.
I put their voices in the envelope
and take the grey road home
my vision shifting from Spanish
to English, from poetry to normal.