for Stan

Your statuette still sits on my shelf: A mahagony man to woman, abstractly
sensual; I still stare, wrestling with where their lovemaking begins and ends.

Sculptures of wood always spoke to you, so you spoke to me through this, carved
in Cuba, of course, mortar of our accidental reporter-activist friendship.

Far from that Caribbean border, which you crossed over and over in a low-key
life, you lunched with me and shared the strife of Jews you knew from your trips.

With every visit your brought what synagogues need – prayerbooks and kipot – religious Red Cross boxes reminding old men and women that someone beyond Havana cared.

You became my eyes and ears in this place that was frozen in a Ford Falcon
past, taking me to the side streets and sugarcane fields beyond the city’s bones.

Cuba was our mortar, my friend, and through that bond, you opened the heavy door
to your life, it squeaking away from the frame; that’s how I learned you had a son.

I still recall the kiddish cup my wife and I drank from at our wedding, the rabbi thanking you for the gift, and I used it ’til its silver plating wore away, like your final rest home stay.