Imagining Havana

By Alicita Rodríguez

Havana is a city of doors and windows, an array of rectangles and rhombuses. Transom windows inside crumbling mansions let breezes blow from room to room. Ocean winds push from sea to salon, cooling Nando, who sleeps in his hammock. He is framed by the patio doors, sectioned by the kitchen window, furcated by the bathroom jalousies. Those who can fly see his cubist face disappear as they rise—until he becomes a pin in the street grid, a mere dot at the junction of Neptuno and Espada. Nando too can fly. He uses the transom windows as a passage, slipping into and through and out of the open lozenges. They are like the arcades of Paris or the catacombs of Rome. The flying inhabitants drift and coast through French doors and Moroccan arches. But others stay put in their hot houses, knowing they can only fly within the city limits. That is the fenestration of Havana.


Alicita Rodríguez is a Cuban-American writer born and raised in Miami. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have been published in Sentence, TriQuarterly, Palabra, and Sudden Fiction Latino, among others.