Art & Culture > US Artists
AT THE VILLAGE OF SANTA BARBARA, ISLAND OF PICO
Looking for my great, great grandmother, Maria Francesca do Cabral
My fingernails scrape lava stones,
Looking for the other world
I find a fissure in the earth that leads
to where the sea tosses its wet creatures,
their lungs exhaling.
The ocean spreads dark and cold beneath the night,
reaches with every wave
for drops of light shed by the moon.
Musty air and a ghost rattle through banana leaves
you rise up, bones of family architecture, luminous.
A woman without soil, you carved roots
from stones of the island.
Into the Azorean sea you dive.
The splash of your body, and I jump,
scattering stars, to pull towards you.
Where ocean and sky meet, you vanish.
Your memory, the afterlife dissolving
all that salt
seeping back into the sea
an ocean mist without end.
I hold my breath, hear the heartbeat of waves,
feel the ocean of my blood.
My body takes pleasure in forgetting gravity,
the need for breathing on my own.
I ask God to throw me a line.
Floating to the shore I feel the pull of the universe
slow everything down, as heaven pulls the earth
into its arms.
First published at SAAL-Suplemento Acoriana de Artes e Letras, da revista Saber/Acores, August 2004.