Forget everything else, but remember the sound of what was said

“A saia com mancha
De flor carmesim
E os brincos da orelha
Fazendo tlintlin?”

[“Your skirt’s stained carmine
And your earrings are clinking,
Tlintlintlin?”]

~ from “A Annunciaçāo” by Vinicius de Moraes, trans. Natalie D’Arbeloff

Someone is cracking eggs in the kitchen, tapping the tines of the fork against a porcelain bowl, making a sound like a hard, bright light. I can see the cloudy marriage of the yolks and whites, the one hand steady and the other agog with its business of whisking—

And how is it in the room where a wake is in progress, where dark-suited relatives forced to acknowledge each other with curt nods take tight little bites of cake?

The widow is wearing her one good set of pearls: they adorn her ears and they lie against her throat, milky and cold like a string of teeth. Her cheekbones, chiseled like ice, sketch a small fortress: a chapel, an island, a distant retreat.

The aunt from the other side of the family comes up to where the daughters sit quietly in a row. She stops in front of one child, touches her streaky cheek and says absently Ah, this one, this is the real beauty… Years from now, who will remember how her eyes looked, and how they paired with her cloying falsetto?

 

In response to Via Negativa: House without walls....

Leave a Reply