It was during a trip beyond the hills

by Rosa Alice Branco. Translated by Alexis Levitin

from Live Concert


It was during a trip beyond the hills.

There were paths in our words and the sound of flutes

creeping to the edges of the road. They came from the river,

everything came from the river or from our gaze lit by terraced vineyards

dropping toward their watery reflection. “If we go that way,”

you would say on the map, but we, assiduous, got ourselves lost,

for in each of us deep changes were occurring

and we didn’t want them to leave us.

In each map another one was happening, spreading

in our hands. The flowers beside the road were changing

colors and the fallen trunks were pythons, “don’t laugh, Joni,

I swear they were, laugh your heart out somewhere else.”

Later on you’d say the branch there in the middle of the road,

maybe it was the light, then again, you couldn’t say,

looked fallen from a still-life.


It was you who were no more, filling

all the spaces of your absence