The students reacted positively. This can be measured by the fact that several have focused on Wynter Melo’s story for their final papers. The subtle introduction of the supernatural served to entertain and grasp attention. Of particular interest seems to be the closing line:
Sí, pero no llores, gordo. Los hombres no lloran.
In this relatively recent interview, Wynter Melo talks about influences, giving a special place to Octavio Paz’s Laberinto de la soledad. Today I discussed this same book with a student in the context of a conversation about postcolonial cultural meshing. Wynter Melo’s past includes Jamaican immigrant grandparents who came to Panama at the time of the canal’s construction. This brief bit of biography that I know about him combined with Panama’s reality as a place where worlds have met for generations, suggests a man who is sensitive to the syncretism and tensions that Paz described.
This understood, it seems that one of his concerns is the impression that his homeland is an unknown for many people. Speaking about this issue in the same interview, he emphasized that outside Panama:
casi nadie conoce nuestra historia
Here is his short story “Hombre y mujer” which I found in the anthology Una región de historias: panorama del cuento centroamericano.