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Words Without Borders is one of the inaugural Whiting Literary Magazine Prize winners!
from the July 2016 issue

Ephemeral Invention


Listen to Edival Lourenço read "Ephemeral Invention" in the original Brazilian Portuguese.


After Ferreira Gullar

It’s this body
through which I discern myself
a body made of flesh and desire
of limestone and fuel
of sap and ecstasy
of clay and wind
carbon fiber and shit.

This body
which, prone to dejection,
at times boasts
such grandeur
such nobility
a window onto my own illusions
that, as I walk the streets,
others anoint
with the same name
my mother gave me
the one the notary public
recorded in his notepad.

A body
—head torso and limbs
skin guts smiles and grimaces—
made entirely
of recycled goods
which my mother
even fifty-some years on
still recognizes
as the son begotten
of her amniotic sac
my father still nurturing
the blind certainty
that someday I
pulsed through him too
as my children look to me
and grasp after
absolute truths.
A body that soon
in its congenital inconstancy
will be powerless to impede
my essence from escaping
like the treetops
of poplars
stretching toward their final days.

 

© Edival Lourenço. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2016 Eric M. B. Becker.

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