A mother-daughter conversation and a child's search for her origins lead from the grandiose to the dreary in this poem by Luisa Castro.
My mother works in a cannery.
One day my mother said to me:
love is a canned sardine. Do you know how
One day my mother said to me: love is a work of art
in a can.
Do you know where you come from? You come
from a mussel nursery—
canned. Behind the cannery, where the shells
along with the fish boxes. An impossible stench, a dead-end blue.
That’s where you come from.
Ah! I said, so I’m the daughter of the sea.
You’re the daughter of a day off.
Ah! I said,
I’m the daughter of snack time.
Yes, in the back, among the dead-end things.
Baleas e baleas © Luisa Castro. English Translation © 2021 Laura Cesarco Eglin.