Paula Abramo

Translated by DICK CLUSTER

Nor does the word border declare
its own boundaries
or teach how to decipher them
whether chromatically
or in terms of time or of texture
so it remains open like a fruit
like a chain’s broken link inviting meaning
to escape
a match can
define a boundary
depending on what it ignites
toward a similar end
a hotplate a gas stove
an oven
or a wood fire

Imagine a house on the outskirts
a dividing line
a poorly paved street and, on one side,
houses with slab floors, concrete pillars, windows, on the other
just sheet metal
and chaotic patched
cardboard eaves leaking
onto the mud,
and on both sides, termites,
rabbits, weeds
grown high,
eating away at the leftovers, trivialities,
like living collective rust
to later end up
in unassuming soups
on both sides of the street, but in the middle,
a red accident rises up
along the slope of rotten mangos
and flies:

Globules, spongy structure of joy
smell of something new, slightly rough,
skin taut, as it comes rolling,
that chuckling cucurbit
from the red dirt of Jundiaí,
on the point of cracking,
the liquid inside resounding
into echoes:
echoes on the palate, in nasal
of rain and sugar cane,
forty kilos of fruit
in a single watermelon,
almost like a fat child
turned into pulp
and rolling
down the cracked, pitted asphalt
among smiles and the firm
footsteps of experts,
stubborn farmers,
the fruit
quakes to a halt.

Though it’s no longer a fruit, more of a sacrificial offering,
swelled so big,
this clumsy, absurd
amid houses with no refrigerators
just the su suffocating January heat.
And then
one side of the street, the side with the big houses
with a room for each resident,
yells across to the other side,
souls crammed in under dirty corrugated roofs,
while midday chickens run up and down
both sides of the street, and the fruit cracks open
like sugar crying out
though not for long,
melting into the dirt, into
the shouts of the children who come running
or who cry lustily on the hips of their mothers pregnant again.
Forty kilos of fruit split in half
sudden coexistence between the two sides of the street
which lack refrigerators, and so, milk
and unexpected gifts, and baked goods too
are shared around
like this
without much fuss.


*This poem belongs to the  book Fiat Lux (FlowerSong Press, 2022)

Posted: August 24, 2022 at 9:35 pm

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