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from the April 2016 issue

From “Um País”

You undulate, soaked in iodine and sun
around the cold outline of a universe:
profound, public, oceanic, the mindset
of a country: a tank of pleasure, of collective
loss, shimmering in different grades of sepia
since sepia is the shade of fine sand, and sand
            is the color here, and ocean-blue. The night
is at rock-height trying to pronounce
your name: hot, salty in my mouth. How to explain
the heat a language exhales—Latinity
radiating through its movements?
At the edge of the forest, the trees absorb light,
their branches heavy with it, shedding debris
on the grass below—                which purifies
transforms, dissolves, breathes for the world
                  while a cloud lingers
between the buildings like a massive
dream: drenched in cloud
you inhale its corners, the decanted fluids
entering your arteries
                 building nests in your body—
                 a fable locked
in the most colossal of cities. 


© 2015 Flávia Rocha. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2016 by Idra Novey. All rights reserved.

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