by Marina Carreira
What would you say to the stoic anchorman
telling us to quarantine inside our homes,
surrounded by everything bulk?
You, raised on olive trees and their switches,
who survived seven siblings,
Salazar, East Newark in the 70s.
You wouldn’t listen to doctors telling you
to wash your hands several times a day,
expectorate into your elbow.
É. Your Avô pay that water bill,
you’d scoff, wiping your runny nose
with crumpled tissue from yesterday,
Only animals sneeze on themselves.
Today an older man said step back
six feet please while he grabbed
too much bread for two. A tired
woman with a face mask sliced
the chouriço like a sad violinist.
What do you see from your sealed
hospital window besides an ocean
you don’t remember bathing in,
a sun that hasn’t cloaked your bones
in weeks? Here, I conjure you
up, what I’ve left of your wisdom,
to get me through this pandemic while
my partner watches videos on preserving
vegetables. This is how we survive, she says.
We can store cheese in salt for months.
Ai ai, you would mutter, O fim do mundo.*
Ouve lá, you would ask, já comeste?**
* “End of the world” (Portuguese)
** “Hey there…have you eaten” (Portuguese)
Marina Carreira is a queer Luso-American writer and multimedia artist from Newark, NJ. She is the author of Save the Bathwater (Get Fresh Books, 2018) and I Sing to That Bird Knowing It Won’t Sing Back (Finishing Line Press, 2017). As a visual artist, she has exhibited her work at Morris Museum, ArtFront Galleries, West Orange Arts Council, and Monmouth University Center for the Arts. Ralph Almeida is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and creates in Brooklyn, NY.