Dearest,

after Jean Valentine

It will not unclench your jaw

or uncross your legs.

It will not loose the sparrow

back to Lisbon, this poem

will not moan Ma’s blues

against your ribs, this poem

will spazz and tick and swallow

sadness, thick in the pit

of stomach. This poem

will not wash down saudade

with bitters, will not draw love

from death’s vein. This poem

will not move your mouth

from the stable, will not feed you

cheese or olives or cake.

Stop trying to cry, dearest,

this poem won’t offer a tissue.

This poem is grief

on its hind legs.

Marina Carreira.jpeg

Marina Carreira

Pronouns: She/Her

3 Poems

Dearest

Ode to the Deer on the Side of

     the Road as America

Death is So Everywhere and So

     Entire

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Ode to the Deer on the Side of the Road as America

Your ears still twitched two minutes after the crash,

after someone who thought himself superior to you

sped maniacally down a one way in the dark.

How could he have known you’d be there?

He who sees himself center of the universe,

how could he know you belong to this earth too,

that this space is yours as much as it is his, or mine,

and really, weren’t you here first? Isn’t this documented

religiously, anthropologically, historically?

By the time we got to you, it was too late;

despite the small pulse from your body, I knew

death had come with its heavy boots and bag.

Blood poured from your mouth, a tiny creek

trickling back to its source, underground, where

nothing forgotten is forbidden. Haplessly,

we called the police, as if they would be of any use.

The officer shrugged and said he’d call for your removal,

insisted you never had a chance given where you wandered.

As if the fir and field behind you weren’t home.

As if your freedom wasn’t as precarious as his.

Death is So Everywhere and So Entire

with these days, these hours

strung together like crumbs

 

on the backs of ants, murmured

fados in the ears of Alfama,

 

the labyrinth you never visited

or cared for; you got enough city

 

in Newark, maze of iron and river.

There are so many murals here now

 

you’d hardly recognize it, intricate

portraits of people who, like us,

 

used to take the number 1 bus

to buy comforters at ABC,

 

fresh hens at Shorty’s, then devour

bakery sandwich cookies after

 

with the hunger of beasts. Art

all along McCarter: memorials

 

in bright blues and heavy oranges,

white dresses and electric animalia,

 

beautiful ghosts and graffitied gods

stretching for a mile and a half 

 

of this city that was always home

when you were on earth and I wonder

 

how many times we walked across

that highway never knowing

 

we were getting closer to death?

How many faces it takes to remind us.

Marina Carreira (she/her) is a queer Luso-American writer and multimedia artist from Newark, NJ. She is the author of Save the Bathwater (Get Fresh Books, 2018) and I Sing to That Bird Knowing It Won’t Sing Back (Finishing Line Press, 2017). As a visual artist, she has exhibited her work at Morris Museum, ArtFront Galleries, West Orange Arts Council, and Monmouth University Center for the Arts.

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