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Poetry

ithaca

By Angélica Freitas
Translated from Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan
In a nod to Cavafy, Best Translated Book Award-winners Angélica Freitas and Hilary Kaplan employ wit and irreverence in this journey to the iconic Greek island of Ithaca.
Bright blue water in a harbor in Ithaca, Greece
Photo by James West, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

if you want to journey to ithaca
call ahead
because it looks like everything in ithaca
is full
restaurants, bars
cheap hotels
pricey hotels
you can’t travel to the ionian sea anymore
without reservations
and the ten-hour trip
feels like ten years
stopping in egypt?
don’t even think about it
and the duty-free shops are full
of perfumes you can buy
with a credit card.
your whole life you’ve wanted
to visit greece
it was a childhood dream
conceived in adulthood
france, italy: adultery
(an adult thing?
I don’t hear an answer)
fine if you want to go to ithaca
ask a cousin
to loan you euros and go to ithaca
it’s cheaper to go to the isle of comandatuba
but they say the blue of the sea
is not the same.
send some emails
from the local cybercafés
who sends postcards anymore?
send digital photos
roast in the sun
bring hipoglos
in ithaca you’ll understand
the use
of hipoglos.

From Um útero é do tamanho de um punho © 2012 by Angélica Freitas. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2016 by Hilary Kaplan. All rights reserved.

English

if you want to journey to ithaca
call ahead
because it looks like everything in ithaca
is full
restaurants, bars
cheap hotels
pricey hotels
you can’t travel to the ionian sea anymore
without reservations
and the ten-hour trip
feels like ten years
stopping in egypt?
don’t even think about it
and the duty-free shops are full
of perfumes you can buy
with a credit card.
your whole life you’ve wanted
to visit greece
it was a childhood dream
conceived in adulthood
france, italy: adultery
(an adult thing?
I don’t hear an answer)
fine if you want to go to ithaca
ask a cousin
to loan you euros and go to ithaca
it’s cheaper to go to the isle of comandatuba
but they say the blue of the sea
is not the same.
send some emails
from the local cybercafés
who sends postcards anymore?
send digital photos
roast in the sun
bring hipoglos
in ithaca you’ll understand
the use
of hipoglos.

From Um útero é do tamanho de um punho © 2012 by Angélica Freitas. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2016 by Hilary Kaplan. All rights reserved.

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