Anna McLoud Gibbs


The ingá tree drips pods like water running down
its arms. At night, the moths lick the clothesline.
In the school one town over, the children learn that people drink hot chocolate in the winter (inverno) in the United States
(Estados Unidos) where there is also snow (neve).

Rainy season falls out the window because it is summer.
Relâmpago glints like the sparks from the lighter on the gas stove;
it takes four tries to ignite. Otherwise,
mostly darkness. And all sound.

There are no streetlights here, just headlights
on the hill: Carminha’s restaurant, where she bakes
bolos. And all the gaps are filled with fireflies.

This was here yesterday and will be tomorrow.
The cicadas hollowed, hollow, and will hollow.
The people have and will cut down trees.
Other people will plant them.

I watch the tour guide speak his second language to the lady
from Japan who is also speaking her second language. This compromise makes me shudder like the rain on the clay roofs. They step from their own circles into an overlap. I see peace
there. We laugh at each other until we understand, or instead of understanding. We become trees, and school children.

In the distance, the sacrificial eucalyptus sways.
The embaubas spin their pinwheels and spit seeds like tarantulas.
The difference between wood and timber. How we stand
in the same room looking out different windows and calling out
the strange things we see. At night, we see only darkness
and fireflies, and it is a communion.

At night, we are rocked to sleep by the rain, and our cabins turn into ships.