Poetry by Mariana Sabino
By Mariana Sabino
Does not exist.
Anymore. The rubble of memory
remains. Stains the senses, droplets
of red and anise. Debris and humans
interchangeable. Wears, my town,
her caul like a crown.
Lapping up trinkets, nostalgia,
crumbs of time.
Things the dead leave behind.
Three years, five years – fifty.
Sand-like time, burrows and flies.
Still. Beauty, salty, stings the tongue.
The Foreign Planet
She wondered what it was like
in his silent world.
And wished she could tell him. Instead,
she traced his eyebrows
with her fingertips.
Brittle, they felt. Gradient of black
at the roots slipping into brown and copper as
it tapered off into straw-like ends. Singed,
those hairs were.
From when he lit a cigarette on the flame
of the stove. It still smelled – that exhalation
of sulphur. As though sulfur simmered inside.
Biding its time.
He went on sleeping,
motionless on his back,
one hand clasped over the other. The way
someone would lie in a casket, funereally arranged.
She reached for his papery hand
and squeezed it – hard. Only 35 yet his hands...
the look and feel of an old man's.
He groaned, a sharp guttural groan.
Good, she thought.
She could still elicit a response.
She made her way to the bathroom,
adjacent to their room. Her eyes fell on
two thin, stilt-like radiator pipes.
They spined the entire building.
Where fifteen minutes later,
the clattering of pans would come.
The chattering in Slovak. Children
galloping across the flat. Morning Flurry.
Paprika, kielbasa, dumplings, sour cabbage
make their way through the pipes. Cling
to the towels which can never be
Bathroom soundbox, a vortex. Reminders
of choices she’d made.
Children, house, kitchen wares, middle-class
comforts. She’d eschewed all that in favor of
an alternative and unique
existence. Somewhere far, far away.
All she had forfeited now came
blaring through the aspirations of
working-class families in the socialist-realism
apartment building, which fringe the whole rim of
eastern bloc countries.
Uniform, grey, concrete slabs which
season after season, year after year,
appear ever under construction.
She wouldn’t be able to say when
she’d given up reining in
her life, letting it, on its own accord,
take her where it may.
But then she remembered.
It was for him.
That beautiful man
she couldn’t decipher.
From a world dripping cinnamon,
from the seams.
There it was. The reason.
so much like
The plop of pretense
water line with viscous
glee, biding time.
Relations frayed, the
paper cuts. Our
thing ripped open by
that bee sting you called a
kiss when all I was hoping
for was a spoon filled
Mariana Sabino is a freelance writer who is currently working on her first novel. Her short stories and articles can be found at Mediterranean Poetry, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Culture Unplugged, Taste of Cinema, and Dogmatika, among other places. Her poetry has also been included in an anthology. She presently lives in Brazil.