Here I wanted my house built.
It was to be tall, permanent, made of stone and light.
Of porous black basalt
brought from Mesquita.
The roof-tiles made
with mud from Riboque,
red as the heart of the hibiscus flower.
There would be a vast glass window
to give it a certain public air.
The backyard would be smooth and round
open to all paths.
Upon the ruins of the dead city
I laid the plans for my house
standing proud against the sea.
I even dreamt of a dock –
tall and grand as an altar.
I can hear the murmur of boats
From my blue verandah.
In face after face I trace
The unfinished lines of my plans.
Translation of “A Casa.” First published in O útero da Casa (Lisbon: El Caminho, 2004). By arrangement with the publisher. Translation copyright 2007 by Amanda Hopkinson. All rights reserved.