from At Your Feet

Ana Cristina Cesar

Ladies’ Talk

I don’t even need to marry
I get all I need from him
I won’t leave here anymore
I really doubt it
This subject of women has come to an end
The cat ate it and enjoyed himself
He dances just like a barrel organ
The writer no longer exists
But also doesn’t have to become a god
Someone’s at the house
Do you think he can stand it?
Mr. Tenderness is knocking
I couldn’t care less
Conspiring: I answer back again
Trap: dying to know
She’s strange
Also you lie too much
He’s stalking me
Who did you sell your time to?
I don’t really know: I slept with that klutz
It makes no sense at all
But what about the gig?
He’s being a good boy
I think it’s an act
Don’t even start


Polly Kellog and Osmar the driver.
Fast but intense dramas.
Freeze-frames of my conceptual heart.
In a navy blue strapless dress.
I take insults but with sincerity.
Sly with common sense.
Village gossip.
Savings artist.
Absolutely blind.
Lust for the maybe.
Limp wrist.
Recording angel.

Behind the Eyes of Serious Girls

But should I tell you that they are daring? Or that they go, with far more serious orders, to polish sins that never rest?

Behind the Eyes of Serious Girls

Warning: I’m turning into a jet plane. Gypsy of adultery’s primetime. Protestant separatist. Basque flapper with a craving for truth. Understand me if you please: my frankness was my flaw, the first amphibious sidecar in the rental classifieds. On the side of the engine rode an armored angel, Charlie’s Angel full speed ahead to Lagos, Seven Year Itch, up the creek without a paddle. I jump out (but does my heel snag on part of the pedal?), I’m no longer drowning, I don’t wag my tail or shake my hips without fuel for takeoff. I don’t look back. I warn and prophecy with my crystal ball that sees real soap operas and my golden blue cloak heavier than air. I don’t look back so get out of my way ’cause this one’s swooping in: sharp talons, and long legs.


I don’t want to put poems on paper anymore
or let my tenderness show.
I act tough,
really sober and tough,
I don’t ask
“what shall I do about
the shadow of that kiss?”
It’s pointless
to go on listening
or maneuver the eyeglass
of divination.
That said
the bedside book falls to the ground.
Your hand that slides
over my hand

translated from the Portuguese by Brenda Hillman, Helen Hillman, and Sebastião Edson Macedo