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from the March 2021 issue

[My mother works in a cannery]

A mother-daughter conversation and a child's search for her origins lead from the grandiose to the dreary in this poem by Luisa Castro.

My mother works in a cannery.
One day my mother said to me:
love is a canned sardine. Do you know how
canned food
is prepared?
One day my mother said to me: love is a work of art
in a can.

My dear,
Do you know where you come from? You come
from a mussel nursery—
canned. Behind the cannery, where the shells

along with the fish boxes. An impossible stench, a dead-end blue.
That’s where you come from.

Ah! I said, so I’m the daughter of the sea.

You’re the daughter of a day off.

Ah! I said,
I’m the daughter of snack time.

Yes, in the back, among the dead-end things.

Baleas e baleas © Luisa Castro. English Translation © 2021 Laura Cesarco Eglin.

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