University of Hawai'i Press

Romance In Twelve Lines

how long before we see each other todayhow long before we see each other soonhow long before we see each other every dayhow long before we see each other foreverhow long before we see each other on alternate dayshow long before we see each other from time to timehow long before we see each other less and lesshow long before we don't want to see each otherhow long before we don't ever want to see each other againhow long before we see each other and pretend we didn't see each otherhow long before we see each other and don't recognize each otherhow long before we see each other and don't remember ever having met. [End Page 31]


The dense halfof the invisible    stands out

in the trail of its own    urge to show        its tongue

Let's say I saw

    its right canineis gold and it knows how to wear    mid-season blouses

    Often its calfmuscle is a steakspeared on a fork

Who would doubt that it's

    CasualAnd can bend its knees    backwards

    The bog bellygrowing from its pawsought to be enough

    But still

It's in the cuticles,crumbs, and delays    that it resides.


The way things are goingarid, no ice, backwards        I won't come home    bringing bread

    but times might changeand tomorrow I might wake up        in the mood        to make juice [End Page 32]

    I suffer from baritone painsTwo days without opening    my mouth my head is a dance hall        of ticks.

I don't know where all that stuff is goingbut my nose is capable of filtering out    secrets traded by roses        in the wind

I'm on holiday, you see    I could organizea christening, pretend    I love shrimp

    If you think about it, noteveryone has cousins, wisdom teeth,    a bank account and a single        mattress for guests

That's why I'll do what I've always wanted    Buy a full crate of grapes        and ride a truck    on forbidden roads.


    Laura takes me to the waterIt's not the only way we're happy    But here we're more soIt's good to spend the lower-case    Looking at a single thingAs though we had never invented        Any image of the future at all    And so we stood near a lower-caseLooking towards the sea and pretending        The movement of the waves was similar to hanging out sheets    And that was us hanging them outYou know, water doesn't stop being water    And we didn't stop tryingTo tidy up the sea, which doesn't bother us    It's a fish loving another fish    Laura likes making the bed    Every day, I switch off the fanBecause the bed is a kind of backpack    a kind of hill, tray, sole of a foot [End Page 33]         For bats; a prism for those who like    to sleep, a desk for those who like to wake up    I can't explain but it's like arriving at waterAnd knowing how to swim, much more, though, and for everything        It's about being able to get to what I really amAnd closer and closer to what I am with happiness    It's a straitjacket inside out        Really good for diving.


    An old fish stuckto the aquarium and close        to death

Used to try and talkto me while I would    smoke a cigarette

    Act, process, effect

    Every day beforegoing to sleep as welooked at each other

        For years    it taught mewhat can't be taught


        The wayall lovers do during    and up to the end

    it repeated the same text        and thought itself wise,the fundamental euphemism

        Life is learned. [End Page 34]


    On the fire escape    and its inseparableatmosphere of disaster

        A blind man    wearing headphonestakes photos and shouts

   —We're all in this together!The rave at the end of the world        is the longest of all

    Your sea urchin eyesare beautiful, the hazy focus,    the dilation, the burn

—Every image is an explosion,and what I want is to create        memory for others

    But what's really fatal is the wayyou move your hands, like you're painting        long roads of earth.


    Power is dangerAnd today I woke up        laughing

    Talent is toneAnd today I woke up        laughing

Wanting is a creatureAnd today I woke up        laughing

On the face the mouth    in the sink the dishboth stained with beans. [End Page 35]

Bruna Beber

Bruna Beber was born in Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro, in 1984, and now lives in Sao Paulo. Her first book, A fila sem fim dos demônios descontentes [The endless queue of disgruntled demons], was published in 2006. Her other books include Rua da padaria [Bakery street] (2013) and Ladainha [Litany] (2017).

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