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To Each His Own by Rosa Alice Branco translated by Alexis Levitin
Skin expects from things the caress of their use
like a dog eager for its owner.
The rim of the glass, the fork’s tines.
To usurp half-open lips
with a useful and disinterested soul.
A swallow of. It’s getting late.
Wine makes one forget the glass’s skin.
For touching (she says to herself)
is a night time confidence.
Out there flowers. Hedges.
The ooze of lovers in the chalice.
I touch you with another’s hands:
that is all the confidence I can manage.
A silk dress half-opening over my leg:
A bone to make you run:
a yipping of love in the doorway.
Sub specie aeternitatis by Rosa Alice Branco translated by Alexis Levitin
In the morning the sheet was on the floor. This the requisite
for solar poetry: my hair spread against your shoulder
and my fingers on the keyboard: “earth,” “light,” “bright morning entering the room.” That’s how I show the world translated
to the house. Your mouth determining the clarity of
the earth in the rapid movements of my fingers.
I do not find the word “death” in the poem and nonetheless
I am obliged to it. For god ordains that we must rule both fish
and fowl, and all the animals that move upon this very earth
where the bed becomes the center. Lord, I wish I could multiply in
some other way. And fill the earth without trampling down a bird
or scaling a fish. You ordain I love sardines upon my plate.
There, I know they have a soul and iron and plenty else.
But who are we, all of us? And one by one? No answer comes.
We repeat the same questions and we call that “life.”
A morning mist absolutely solar in your bed.
The birds and other animals no longer write poems on linen sheets.
They merely multiply and multiply in all those chicken coops.
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