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