A journal of narrative writing.
Wet Foot, Dry Foot

The Wet Foot, Dry Foot Policy is the informal name given to a 1995 agreement under which Cubans migrants to the United States who are intercepted at sea ("wet feet") are sent back to Cuba...while those who make it to U.S. soil ("dry feet") are allowed to remain in the United States...documented Haitian migrants who reach U.S. shores are not automatically eligible for immigrant visas, or permanent residence, only Cubans. (www.washingtonpost.com)

Dressed up for a new life, buttercup yellow organza awash on the gangplank, soles sway sheathed in lace-rimmed socks, white patent leather Mary-Janes too big for her feet, ribbons starched and braided through her hair. We watch the rush hour spectacle, our living room exile plush and merciless, watch helicopters swivel between palm trees, swooping down for the next great shot: feet pounding pavement, bodies scattering across the Rickenbacker Causeway, her polished onyx face anchoring the screen. We don't ask what it cost, her Sunday best— not Abuela who buys those same itchy dresses at La Canastilla Cubana year after year for my cousins in Havana now that lace and church have gone black market; not Papi who once ran from hammer-fisted rednecks eager to knock his accent right out of his mouth; not Mami who collects pantyhose and Kotex for her best friend, Teresita, who stayed behind. It's easier that way, easier to overlook her space on the freighter, so much like the one that ferried cousin Pepito to Key West during El Mariel, easier to complain about the invasion of Key Biscayne, where work wizened nannies speak Creole now that Español has moved into the zip code. We do not speak of travesties— Wet Foot, Dry Foot, white face, black face, tic-tac-toe of policy but I wonder if she dreams of Griot, soil culled vegetables, a plastic doll dressed in buttercup yellow. Only human when it comes to our own, we watch, knowing she'll be returned to Port-au-Prince, sea weary, sweat-drenched, dress a ruined souvenir strapped to her back.