Dirty Diapers

Oscar Medrano

When I was born, my uncle and father went on a five-day drunk. Everyone was happy, and the men could celebrate. The government made my parents wait twelve days before registering my birth, a simple way of lowering the infant mortality rate.

When I was born, my father’s business sold American candies to the children of Guantanamo. He went to every house in the neighborhood giving candies to the children and liquor to the men. My mother tried to dissuade his sweets and liquored generosity, but understood that it was expected of him.

When I was born, we lived with my paternal grandparents. A tall, thin grandfather that played the violin, and a short grandmother that smoked cigars. They had ten children, dad being the eldest.

When I was born, my mother stayed at home. All the women came to visit not with casseroles, but with rice, beans, and roast pork. They said I looked healthy and strong, and that I’d grow into a fine young man. No one mentioned my difficulty breathing.

When I was born, my uncle said that I would need two cribs: one for my body, and the other for enormous head. My uncle always reminds me that he thought I would never grow big enough to support that head.

When I was born, Castro was on the move, inciting the countryside with his eyes set on Havana. It would take him two years to get there. My family was not impressed.

When I was born, my sister was not impressed, either. Daddy’s little girl asked if he had gone on a five-day drunk when she came into the world. No, that’s a ritual reserved for when boys are born, she was told.

When I was born, my sister piled up all of my cloth diapers and pissed all over them.


Oscar Medrano was born in Guantanamo, Cuba, raised in New York City, and has resided on Miami Beach for twenty-four years. He will be graduating with an MFA degree from the University of Tampa in June of 2017.

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