The Secret State of Everything

by Jéanpaul Ferro

We came by moonlight to Cuba,
washed up on her shores with the giant catfish,
drunk and fragrant like rinds,

wedged between each other and the sands,
your long hair, wet, adorned in the color of delicate lemons,
your kiss a topaz held against the morning light,

pinned against each other like we are cuffed together,
our every move sticky and blistering in the heat,
two prisoners, caught on this island where one cannot change,

swim, you think; go on and on forever, I think;
we scream, but no one hears our pleas,

you squeeze my hand, and we swallow everything together,
merging, wrangling back against the waves (to hide).

A 4-time Pushcart nominee, Jéanpaul Ferro‘s work has appeared in Contemporary American Voices, Columbia Review, Connecticut Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Long Island Quarterly, Bryant Literary Review, Portland Monthly, The Providence Journal, Arts & Understanding Magazine, Barrelhouse Magazine, AIM Magazine, Cortland Review, Hawaii Review, and others. His work has been featured on NPR’s This I Believe series, WBAR radio in NYC, and The Plaza’s Masterpiece series. His book of short fiction, All the Good Promises, was published by Plowman Press, and his collection of poetry, Becoming X, is forthcoming from BlazeVOX Press. He is also a 2-time Best of the Net nominee. He currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island. E-mail at

Back to Issue One: Fall 2008