We Move Forward

The floor is sticky, the lights dim
A familiar Latin beat taps out the soundtrack
to our Saturday night.

The crowd is made up of couples focused on their own moves
oblivious to the other pairs that brush against them
making similar motions at the same time
in their separate spheres. A few wallflowers
sip drinks while the smokers cloud the balcony
We clasp hands once more when a salsa song begins.

The rhythm doesn’t stop and the salseros don’t falter
when, at 12:05am, the DJ announces over the music:
Fidel Castro se murio.
We continue dancing
arms locked, heads spinning
I assume I misheard. You say nothing.

Two songs later, again: Fidel Castro se murio
the DJ states, official-like
His staid voice keeps a morbid excitement constrained
to the edges of his mouth, the words rolling around and
swirling out of him. He resists an urge
to let them dance their way to his microphone.

He doesn’t celebrate or console. He isn’t Cuban;
it’s a mixed audience here. He knows the Dominicans don’t care
the Colombians aren’t even listening.
He can’t tell if the handful of Cubans are Fidelistas or not. Revolucionarios
or indifferent. Children of anti-revolucionarios or recent balseros.
An aggregate of the millions of reasons people emigrate and migrate.
Political ideology, opportunity, hunger. We’re all here,
sweating together on the same floor
and the track keeps playing.

This time, we look at each other and take out our phones
and you say yes. It’s true. He’s dead.

And I search your face for grief or sadness, relief or joy
But there is nothing. And what for? You say in Spanish
My mother died in Cuba without me and the world continued moving, didn’t it?
Why should Fidel deserve anything more?

The DJ puts on the next song, a new reggueton artist with a modern sound
And we move together.
And we move forward.