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When I Was Young In Cuba This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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When I was young in Cuba,
I would stay up late
and wait for my grandfather
to bring me a midnight snack:
either fresh bread with butter,
rare candies, or a surprise!

He would come walking down the street.
Once I could make out his shadow
from my seat on the curb in front of my house,
I'd run to him and leap into his arms.

When I was young in Cuba,
the streets were my kingdom
and I was the queen.
Everyone knew who I was.

“Look, there goes Lili”
They would laugh
as I ran around the corner
from my babysitter's house to my grandma's,
in only a clothespin-fastened towel,
to get dressed.

When I was young in Cuba,
I'd sit in the Catholic pews with my grandma,
wearing my Sunday best:
a puffy lacy dress, a matching bow, and shiny Mary Janes.

They'd call me an old lady
because I appeared to be listening intently.
I would never cry, nor giggle, nor speak
when service was going on.

When I was young in Cuba,
I could safely run around,
happy, free, and young.

When my dad gave me two dollars,
I knew it was my cue to run down the street
and pick up cigarettes for him
from the old man that made them at his house.

When I was young in Cuba,
I thought I had it all.
I was happy, surrounded by love, and free to fly,
and that was all that mattered.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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