the spells of itapuã


Thought bubbles must be punctured gently,
deflated with a fine molecular needle.


She lets me do the shopping at the markets,
the hens are in my charge, I sweep the floors,
but I’m a prisoner in her house.

On the crooked kitchen shelving, potions bright,
alluring clues, magic herbs and condiments.
To prepare Bahian fish, she says.

Her eyes are jungle camouflage, her tidal laughter
breaks in waves when nothing is amusing,
mysteries are woven in her hair.

The witch blows thirteen rainbowed bubbles
that float and drift and cocoa pop with words—

gringo   louco
crazy   gringo   thinks   too   much
everything   is   always
as   it   is

From a trumpet tree, I saw three parakeets
take flight—
an omen, clear as feathers.
Before the edge of night,
I’ll take a coach, I’ll break her spell,
return to my reliable southern past.

In the lab, with telescopes and microscopes,
I’ll watch the nano-city growing,
proto people, apartment stacks,
linear streets and buses,
to work and back in reciprocal commutation.
I’ll never miss a beat of life in miniature, never notice
my imprisonment.

But here, beyond the urban masquerade,
wisps of clouds will race to catch the sun,
the frogs will croak their serenade
to distant samba drums,
the blushing moon will sink in Lake Serene,
its broken light for fireflies
to chase, and on the shore
the witch of Itapuã in white
will wait beneath the palms.


On second thoughts, all things considered,
someone has to feed the chooks.

I think I’ll stay with her tonight.

taking liberties with physics and geography

For any witch/warlock interested in Brazilian spell casting, macumba or candomblé, the outfit is key, here are some examples. Legal disclosure: I have no connection with Mercado Livre and haven’t received a promotional payment from them, although I wouldn’t complain if I did.

lost shorelines


23 thoughts on “the spells of itapuã

    • You’re very welcome. I enjoy writing about Latin America, not that I see my time there with rose glasses, but I prefer the light side of the poetry force if I can manage it.

    • Thank Vanessa. When I was very young I was terrified of witches, storybooks with Hansel and Gretel and so on, but later on I found I was quite fond of them 😀 .

    • Yes, I agree, I mean, some of those stories really are an inexplicable choice for children imho.
      But this is such a great piece! (regardless of where one lies on the “like” spectrum of such things, I just love your creativity. Obviously haha)

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