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Thadious M. Davis - Milk con Leche - Callaloo 26:1 Callaloo 26.1 (2003) 63-64

Milk Con Leche

Thadious M. Davis

The man on the street
stinks of rum.
He is gray in the head
stooped in his soiled shirt
His pants hang almost to his hips.
He skips spryly towards
first one and then another
toward the tourists
toward me:
"Give me dollar for my baby"
in English, not in Spanish.
I laugh at the thought
no hay diplomacia del dolar
the greybeard surely
almost 70 years old—
surely with no young
wife by the look of his
wizened body, by the smell of his
rank clothes
by the droop of his pants.
He cannot be the father
of a baby— He cannot
have a young wife.
¿que pasa?
He is, he thinks, virile
hyper sexy, gorgeous as
Che in front of the TV camera, Cuban as
the Argentinian with
his fat long cigar
sitting as Fidel stands
to speak, to talk,
to dream, to lead. [End Page 63]
But this old hombre
is not that Cubano
But I am a tourist
Centro Habana
Ciudad de la Habana
and no pesos with
the fortaleza
either Castillo de San Francisco
or Trinidad in my pockets
Though dollars line my
money belt
they cannot be part of
this exchange—
no part of this hombre's
sexo masculine
his trickery
his ruse that
he is Che
and I am here
for the Revolution.


Thadious M. Davis is G. C. Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Her new book is Games of Property: Law, Race, Gender and Faulkner's "Go Down Moses".

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