Gonçalo Manuel Tavares

(1970 / Luanda)

The book - Poem by Gonçalo Manuel Tavares

In the morning, when I went past the shop
the dog barked
and didn't viciously attack me because its iron chain
prevented it.
In the evening,
after having read in a low voice some poems on a lazy garden chair
I came back the same way
and the dog didn't bark because he was dead,
and the flies and the air had already gathered
the difference between a corps and sleep.
I am taught pity and compassion
but what can I do if I've got a body?
My first image was thinking of
kicking it plus the flies, and shout:
I won.
I kept going,
the poetry book under my arm.
Only later did I think as I got home:
it can't be good to have still the iron
chain around your neck
after you're dead.
And as I felt my memory remember my heart,
I attempted a smile, pleased with myself.
The joy was brief,
I looked round:
I had lost the poetry book.

Translated by Ana Hudson

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Poem Submitted: Friday, June 23, 2017

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