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2 poems Alessandra Bava

On My Son’s Suitcase Mishandled in Tapachula

What does your suitcase contain? Beneath the handle

hides a ritual of things placed with symmetrical care:

t-shirts, socks, belts, a box of pills, underwear,

your high-school Spanish literature book in which

you delicately placed a few fallen leaves between

a poem of Lorca and one by Neruda. It followed

you safely on the first two legs of your trip to Madrid,

and to Mexico-City then, as in a novel by Bolaño,

it became a savage suitcase and left on its own

dreaming new lands, ending at the border with

Guatemala, likely desirous to visit Chiapas.

As in a crime story, when things disappear, we

piece together the clues of our life, sighing over the new

jeans, the perfect razor, the best shaving cream, the

necessary drugs, the black sneakers that are

our trademark, the carefully chosen souvenirs.

One day the suitcase is returned to you with

brand-new tags and a few new scars: a jumble of mixed

stuff seeking order, teaching you that sometimes life falls

into the “lost and found” category. But mostly, that life is

not the necessary or unnecessary things we carry around,

but the great suitcase of our hearts that holds them all and

needs none.

Was it A Fox or A Dream

standing by my window beneath

the blue moon?

So tiny, sniffing

the air, quivering ears.

You have come to cuddle my

lonesomeness with your light

hair and thick fur.

Welcome to my yard!

You glow in the dark against

the ink firmament – firefly

in furs. Your bright tongue

speaks unknown languages

I yearn to learn.


Alessandra Bava is a poet and a translator. Her work has been published in magazines such as Gargoyle, Plath Profiles, Tinderbox and Waxwing. She is the editor of HerKind, a series dedicated to poetry in translation, for Ensemble. She has recently translated an Anthology of Contemporary British Women Poets.


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