A hunchbacked happiness imitating wings

Hi, folks,

Next on my series of posts for Spanish and Portuguese Reading Months, hosted by Stuart and Richard, you have four poems by Brazilian author Lívia Natália, translated by Tiffany Higgins. You can find the whole series here, along with some other Brazilian gems. Enjoy!

Yours truly,


The Weary Hour
I wasn’t invited to participate in the world’s carnival.
Or I came too late,
after the makeup already had fallen away
and hair had become disheveled. And so I’m me,
facing a painting of creatures whose happiness is already blurred,
with my hair done and vivid paint on my pocked face.The floor has been washed with sparse laughter,
made of sweat and shared wine glasses.The heavy scent of alcoholic torpor reigns
in the air that moves through yet lifts no breeze,
that brings the party’s dregs as its echo.And I’m just me, the party ended,
with a hunchbacked happiness
imitating wings.

(Lívia Natália, translated by Tiffany Higgins)

Song of Silence

A carnival passes through me violently.
My ears barely digest what was heard
in the slow machine shop where words are chewed on.
My gums bleed mutely
colored thus from pure voraciousness—
it’s like death in the wastelands of immense spring.

Beyond the flower of your perfume,
there’s the wasp and its rough stinger.
My cry of pain and calm,
the same one that leaks thickly from my eyes,
imitates the voice of the crickets.

Friend, you should learn now
that the cricket doesn’t die singing.

Inside it lives a wound without remedy
that opens in your womb
a cut born from within
that rips to shreds the entrails.

In your womb live unfathomable fears.
And a cut that bleeds profusely.
Every cricket, like me,
dies screaming!

(Lívia Natália, translated by Tiffany Higgins)

Albrecht Durer, Wing of a Blue Roller, 1512

2 thoughts on “A hunchbacked happiness imitating wings

  1. I’ve seen so many wonderful Spanish and Portuguese poets now – recommended to me by a friend, especially. Thank you for sharing such beautiful words! Definitely encouraged me to look further.


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