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From “Revista Pessoa”—Three Poems

By Vilma Arêas
Translated By Eric M. B. Becker

These poems by Vilma Arêas are a part of a monthly series resulting from a partnership between WWB and Brazil’s Revista Pessoa. Each month, WWB will bring readers new work that originally appeared in Pessoa here in English translation, and Pessoa will publish work from WWB's pages in translation into Brazilian Portuguese.


“Je-ro-se-li-na,” she scanned, stopping on each syllable. “My name is Jeroselina
but my husband calls me Linda.”
His is Aderbal.
He’ll only eat food I’ve made.
Give him what you want, anything at all.
He’ll only eat food I’ve made.




it wasn’t she who died, it was her sister. He’s still drinking.
Emilia’s daughter was daft. Daft but discerning.
An evil eye, twitching all perverse.
The girl's father would wake and beat her when he’d arrive drunk at dawn
each time payday rolled around.


Her father, her brother, and her son had the same name. The brother jumped to his feet,
sobbing, walked over to the casket and smacked his dead sister.
I love you, he shouted, hurling the flowers across the church, knocking over candles
as he tugged the dead woman by the waist.
It took three men to restrain the brother, completely drunk
but with the strength it’s said belongs to the mad.           


memories flood the room, circle the light, carried in by those he knew:
the time he gave up at this or that
the time he saved so-and-so from the waters
the time the doctors removed all doubt
but still
he could laugh when his son spilled sugar on the tablecloth.
Later, everyone starts to yawn and goes to the kitchen for coffee.



i dreamed of Bia
she wore a skirt of water that gleamed in the half-light
she couldn’t sit still she was all wound up
but still the water would not flow


These poems originally appeared in Revista Pessoa. © Vilma Arêas. By arrangement with the author and Revista Pessoa. Translation © 2017 Eric M. B. Becker.

Published Jan 31, 2017   Copyright 2017 Vilma Arêas

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