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Belated Epithalamium, and The Unverifiable Resurrection of Adão da Barco

From: New England Review
Volume 33, Number 4, 2013
pp. 185-186 | 10.1353/ner.2013.0010

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Belated Epithalamium

I haven’t written a love poem before now because I hoped
you’d notice the roasted snake served with cinnamon apples,
or see the dictionary of endearments I carved into the floors,
or realize I storyboarded our six weeks of love on the back
of your shirt. As long as the moon husbands the stars, I’ll let
parishioners place coins in my open mouth as you pass me
down the aisles. I’ll bolt jackalope busts to the bar wall. I’ll dress
like a horse for you, harness for you, jingle and canter for you,
but I won’t go to the river. I saw what waits there. It’s not a god
but has a god inside it. Baptizing me in my sleep doesn’t count.
We both know that. The malagueta bouquet won’t persuade me.
The cilice crowning my thigh can’t convince me either. You dressed
my toes as archangels without swords, carved crucifixes on
my shoes, mixed holy water in my shampoo before I realized
you don’t know how much your vow will make us suffer, but I do.

The Unverifiable Resurrection of Adão da Barco

First, a tourist finds a poem in the leper colony,
  carved in a kapok, ants swarming sap in the cuts.
Then a fisherman uncovers instructions for a rain dance,
  an usher discovers recipes for the jubilee.

A riverboat captain comes to town and leads them
  to a tree in the north describing the mating habits
of the marabunta, to one in the south with an ode to plums.
  In the west, a sonnet about a hen named Lucifer

whose fiendish eggs buzzed but when opened held only
  wings and stingers. The town banishes him when
he lashes himself to a poem and scratches out the last
  two lines but invites him back when a psalm

about the bastard tongue of Jesus’s sister appears in the east.
  No one believes the boy he carries off the boat
is his own, not even when he shows them the statue
  of the sundered madonna whose toothsome breasts

smell like the common, vulgar sweetness of maracuja.
  A mule, wasp-stung and raging, tramples the child
in front of an elegy for Lazarus’s wife. The town collects
  mummified hummingbirds for the boy’s pockets,

but the captain returns from the jungle with something
  dripping from his knife—pulsing, doubtless, radiant.
What could bring back a son. What in God’s name
  was sweet, is sweet, will be sweeter after sundering.

Traci Brimhall  

Traci Brimhall is the author of Our Lady of the Ruins (W. W. Norton), selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press), winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Slate, Ploughshares, New England Review, Missouri Review, and Best American Poetry. She has received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the King/Chávez/Parks Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Copyright © 2013 Middlebury College Publications
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Traci Brimhall. "Belated Epithalamium, and The Unverifiable Resurrection of Adão da Barco." New England Review 33.4 (2013): 185-186. Project MUSE. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Brimhall, T.(2013). Belated Epithalamium, and The Unverifiable Resurrection of Adão da Barco. New England Review 33(4), 185-186. Middlebury College. Retrieved April 15, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Traci Brimhall. "Belated Epithalamium, and The Unverifiable Resurrection of Adão da Barco." New England Review 33, no. 4 (2013): 185-186. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed April 15, 2013).
T1 - Belated Epithalamium, and The Unverifiable Resurrection of Adão da Barco
A1 - Traci Brimhall
JF - New England Review
VL - 33
IS - 4
SP - 185
EP - 186
PY - 2013
PB - Middlebury College
SN - 2161-9131
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/new_england_review/v033/33.4.brimhall.html
N1 - Volume 33, Number 4, 2013
ER -


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