With every stroke of her pencil
the little girl unfurls dreams
and traces childhood’s uncertain roadmaps.
A twisted loom,
lines on a page mending sorrows
which she weaves into life’s purity.
In a scarring script
she tattoos the wavering future
on the bare skinned wall.
Without commas in her gaze,
the little girl dribbles colons with each breath
and swears an exclamation mark
is a lollipop:
“Is growing up for real or make-believe?”
Dot dot dot, I gasped.
A question mark is a fisherman’s hook.
I’d taken the bait of uncertainty,
when she offered me as consolation,
wrapped in quotation marks, a single Smartie.
In the end, tree, a cloudy shelter will come
to cover your dry, aged branches.
It will lend you, short on green,
the white glow of its weightlessness
As a drop undoes the cloud into tears
I’ll tell my children:
no, the tree didn’t die,
your childhood sun has set.
“Des(d)enhos,” “Pontuação,” and “No Fim” © Hélder Faife. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by Sandra Tamele and Eric M. B. Becker. All rights reserved.