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Callaloo 24.4 (2001) 1140-1141

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Dorva's House

Edimilson de Almeida Pereira

I live in this pink house.
The truth is that the rooms
got used to me
like fruit to a tree.
I know the yellows
that age oratories.
And the slow journey
of dust on the sheets.
Excuse me, six hours.
That's the sound
of the family that gets closer:
my daughters, and then,
the one with no hat, my husband.
It's like that every day
I go on with my prayers
and other psalms
wouldn't recite them all.
That's what the women do
between the misery
and glory of paradise.
The family eats
around the fire.
Flames are similar
in terms of embers, words.
What I am or they are
soon enough can't be told apart.
Meanwhile, Domingos
and Raquel and Jane and Bete [End Page 1140]
and everyone else in the pink house
are the owners of their hearts.
That's what needs to be understood,
this being Dorva's house and all.
As for me, well, I'm divided
into saint, mother, ficus.
Into islands and vigils
that celebrate the dead.
I'm a shining
star a fork.
The towel that becomes a robe
during the Holy Days.
I'm the flag that leads the way
for the trios of Catopê.
The box where the cross
of camboatá wood is hidden.
I can sum myself up
much to my surprise.
God was resting
when I made my house.
Its pink the color
of my family within.

--Translated by Steven F. White

From Word-House.

Edimilson de Almeida Pereira lives in Juiz de Fora in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He has published poetry and studies of Brazilian culture which include Corpo vivido, A roda do mundo (with Ricardo Aleixo), Negras raízes mineiras: Os arturos, and Mundo encaixado: Significação da cultura popular. He teaches Brazilian literature at the Federal University in Juiz de Fora.

Steven F. White's study and translations of contemporary Afro-Brazilian poetry have appeared in Callaloo 18.4, 19.1, and 20.1. He is the co-author with Edimilson de Almeida Pereira of "Brazil: Analysis of the Interactions and Conflicts in a Multicultural Society" in Cultural Cartographies: Comparative Studies in Race, Ethnicity and Nationhood. He also translated the subtitles for the feature-length film Cruz e Sousa: O Poeta do Desterro (1999) by Brazilian director Sylvio Back. White's CD Transversions (2001) includes his translations set to music of poetry by Latin American and Spanish writers. His most recent volume of poetry is Fire that Engenders Fire/Fuego que engendra fuego. He teaches at St. Lawrence University.



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