You were the size of one of the snails I used to race
in Tio Pedro’s backyard. Raised like livestock in miniature
in a small wooden hutch. Here, I made a hutch for you,
split it from myself:
a uterine sac.
The doctors insist, but I cannot be blameless in this.
I have pulled snails from their shells and run them through herbed butter.
I’ve sopped them up with crusty bread. Alone in France,
trying to shape my loneliness into something fashionable—an aperitif.
Home in Brazil, I have broken
so many chicken necks, plucked so many feathers, seen the cuy
split open, stuck through
and flattened onto spits at the feira. I might reach for a papaya, instead,
but the gaze has its own appetites.
They would not call yours a death, Little Snail.
Instead, a loss. I could not keep you.
Now, a pain pill lulls me to sleep.
The curtain between us flutters
somewhere out of reach.
Go / Stay.
If life does not begin at conception, death does.
I made a death.
I am the screaming steam loosening flesh from spiral shell.
I follow, cloaked in my grief.
I am the scythe.
Kim Sousa is a Brazilian-American poet and open border radical. Her work can be found in Poet Lore, Rogue Agent, Apogee, Blunderbuss and elsewhere. She has poems forthcoming in Pidgeonholes, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review and Duende, among others. In 2019, she organized Pittsburgh’s all-Latinx chapter of Christopher Soto, et al.’s “Writers for Migrant Justice” nation-wide protest collective benefiting Immigrant Families Together and co-edited the benefit anthology of immigrant and first-generation poetry, No Tender Fences, which donated 100% of its proceeds to RAICES Texas. She is currently at work on her first full-length manuscript and at home again in Austin, Texas with her two senior pugs and her familiar, a black cat.