Written by Flavia Rocha
Translated by Idra Novey and Flavia Rocha
Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour
Read by Beth Towle
On the hill
The dry summer burns the fennel
growing higher outside the fence.
The tree with nine macaws
injects cries into a view
carved with towers.
Bright green wings beat
against the grey buildings.
Hedgehopping between roofs
beneath the unfiltered sun –
something possible, even certain, insists.
From this chair
(the fabric sun-stained)
before waves of burned hills
one can see the garden below:
a broken twig says the devastation.
The polished vase on the table.
(There is a passageway behind the viaduct.)
On the flat grass of the underground park,
it’s easy to cut loose.
A view of the sea
from the rooftop of an abandoned building.
To bet on the waves, on the gravel
as if ready for flight –
to frame the seagull, leaving.
São Paulo, January 26th, 1973
Hunger ever-renewed in the house
by cookie dipped in coffee.
The backdoor left open
by the neutral hand of the maid.
My grandfather on the narrow sidewalk
of a city looking for a village.
My grandfather with his largest umbrella
on the driest day of the year.
My grandfather without a name
that would grant him a son, a house.
After two years of searching,
they finally locked the door.
My grandfather walking safely
the crossway of time.
Static wind from a painting of pine forest,
A gas station stands desolate in the rain,
black ice camouflaged on the asphalt, the road
owes along a stupidly magnificent edge: forest, rain,
ice, canyon: my forest, my rain, my ice, my canyon.
A moose tall as a church crosses the road
near my bus in the fog, and everything goes on.
Listen to this poem
Flávia Rocha is a Brazilian poet, editor and journalist. She holds an MFA in Writing from Columbia University, and is the author of two poetry books, both published in Brazil, the bilingual A Casa Azul ao Meio-dia/ The Blue House Around Noon (Travessa dos Editores, 2005) and Quartos Habitáveis (Confraria do Vento, 2011). She is the editor-in-chief of Rattapallax, a literary journal based in New York City featuring contemporary American and International poetry. She has edited anthologies of Brazilian poetry for magazines Rattapallax (USA), Poetry Wales (UK), and Papertiger (Australia), among others. Her translations from English into Portuguese of contemporary poetry often appear in literary magazines in Brazil. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two young daughters. (Updated Jun. 2012)
Beth Towle is in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame, studying poetry. She is also a part-time library technician and manages multiple blogs. She is from Indiana. (Updated Jun. 2012)
Idra Novey is the author of Exit, Civilian, selected by Patricia Smith for the 2011 National Poetry Series, and The Next Country, a finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year Award in poetry. Her recent translations include Clarice Lispector’s novel The Passion According to G.H., forthcoming from New Directions and Penguin UK. (Updated Jun. 2012)
Rahele Jomepour is an Iranian illustrator who holds an MFA in Illustration from the University of Tehran. She was featured as one of the illustrators seleced for the 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide(Lurzer’s Special Archive) in 2010. Her works have also been selected for several international awards including the Fourth Picture Book Award, Korea, 2012, and Theater Illustration and Poster Design, Venice, Italy, 2011. Her illustrations have appeared in books and magazines in Iran and Portugal. She currently lives in Ames, Iowa where she is completing an MFA in Integrated Visual Arts at Iowa State University. (Updated Jun. 2012)
These poems were first published in Portuguese in:
Rocha, Flavia. Quartos Habitáveis. Confraria do Vento, 2011.