Tropical ache



Tropical ache
is worse

than April in the north.

It’s worse
than the ache when you plunge your head
into a Scottish loch.

Worse
than when the tips of your fingers push out through the wool
of threadbare gloves, which even before being threadbare,
never fit.

Worse
than getting home
and there’s no firewood, no matches
and no tea.

With tropical ache
everything glows.

With tropical ache
the sun shines on both sides of the street.

And with tropical ache
everyone
hides when it rains.






You edited me



I did the same to you.
I can’t remember how things were before. 
You selected, pasted, took away
what was in brackets; opened spaces
where there were none. Saved as,
configured margins, saved it all,
closed it, went back, changed some more.
Subject pronouns all got lost. You commented on the near
absence of pathetic fallacy,
you highlighted, underlined, gave the thing a body,
turned mud to crystal. Nothing
carnal. It was someone, it was you,
it was me. I can’t remember how things were before. 
Now, filed away, this version stays
right here, with nothing to be found
in the attachment. 










Opening times


Near the registry
there was a viewing point,
a sign

to be read
just after things got dark.

It said in dialogues
of comic romances

there’s always missing spaces
in the clouds.





Poem in which a foreign national carries out activities of a political nature



Doing nothing is an activity of a political nature.
Looking at antennas in a storm
is an activity of a political nature. Listening to Bowie
in deep water is an activity of a political nature. Repeating
what you read at school in dis-
united kingdoms is an activity of a political nature.
Stepping off the curb is an activity of a political nature.
Holding your hands over your ears is an activity of a political nature.
Declaring yourself to be anti-marriage followed by
enthusiastic participation at your own wedding
is an activity of a political nature. Hoping
people from down the road will send you invitations is an activity
of a political nature. Hoping people from outside the small city borders
will send you invitations is an activity of a political nature.
Hoping people will send you invitations so that you can say no
is an activity of a political nature. Occupation is an activity
of a political nature. Interrupting into an unplugged microphone
is an activity of a political nature. Standing up at the start
is an activity of a political nature. Sitting down at the end
is an activity of a political nature. Closing your eyes
whilst positioning your camera is an activity
of a political nature. Using the first person
is an activity of a political nature. Keeping to one side
is an activity of a political nature. Deciding what to bring
is an activity of a political nature.
Deciding what to leave.






Branch



The translator is
a machine says the myth
in bed too it says
legible solutions
are drafted
through the dreams
of sworn attested hearts.






Continental drift




Here, the irony
is different. But 
the weight belt 
still pulls you in
to the abyss.

For the nth time
I say yes, 
it is the same sun
that heats up
what I suppose then
must be the same
Atlantic.
And no, 
I’m not inclined
to beans,
but thanks again.

Here,
the velocity
of the mermaids
at the surface
is different. There,
the mermaids 
are insured
for everything. For their
fishy tails, 
which also seem from here
to be less green.


About the Author:

Sarah Rebecca Kersley is a poet, translator and editor born in the UK and based in Brazil for over a decade. She is the author of two books published in Brazil: ‘Tipografia oceânica’ [‘Ocean typography’] (poetry, 2017) and ‘Sábado’ [‘Saturday’](memoir/biography/creative non-fiction, 2018). Her writing and translation has appeared in places such as Manoa Journal, Modo de Usar & co., Washington Square Review, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. She co-runs Livraria Boto-cor-de-rosa, an independent bookshop and small press focused on contemporary literature, in the city of Salvador, Bahia, where she is based.

….*The poems Tropical Ache, You edited me, Opening times, Branch, and Continental Drift are versions of poems originally written in Brazilian Portuguese and published in the book Tipografia oceânica (Brazil, Paralelo13S, 2017).

Feature image by dorota dylka on Unsplash