Cheeks marked with the white inedible scales

I tried to resist, swallowing the chalky paste 

until it blooded me. Militant payola of loose

aluminum rubbed each night. Meanwhile 

I’m not in school. 


Head down, bumps 

on my linings, wrists, I walked

to the square 17th de Septembre. 

They told me a meeting will finish it.  

My name written on paper notes shoved under candles 

and the red curtains flying in neighbors’ windows

and the mammal hair threading the loaves

and someone wanting the huts in my eyes 

[burnt to the ground.]


I prayed on the bronze pioneer. I played

a string attached to a stick. 


Tall, clicking tree 

mildly shading 

my dangling feet.


I waited in my mouth.





World Town



Entirely windless, today’s sea; of these waters’ many names 

the best seemed “field-of-pearl-leaves,” for it smelled like the air 

in the house he built entirely of doors: pink school door,

gold of the burnt hotel, two old church blues, the abandoned 

bank’s steel doors singular and immovably wedged over

the family’s heads though as with everything corroding 

the sense of themselves slipping away in the heat, 

falling through the day’s brightness the way soldiers 

once fell upon him walking home with a bucket of natural 

water as he had been recalling the town square 

before the tannery’s closing: he and his father shopping 

on horseback in the noon Praça where they first saw

a man crouched under a black shroud, what his father called 

a camera. His father forgot the incident immediately, but 

for years the man asked whomever if they remembered 

a camera, vegetable stalls, the butcher holding the cleaver, 

a horseshoeing shop, purple berries, the long cassava valley haze,

fishnets, a few crab baskets and browning nets 

drying by the ice cream shop, seven taverns,

a small, unused ferry terminal, a map on its wall outlining 

the island in blue, the names Good Dispatch, Lover’s Bridge 

pointed to by a mermaid of skin whiter than anyone 

on this island of Angola’s descendants, her red hair.

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