Flávio de Araújo

Caiçara Song*



With the thousand bananas

on my plate, a fish swims.

The boy licks his lips

and the cat, the fins.


All I want

Lord in Heaven

is a net for fishing

oh! please keep

Lord in Heaven

my canoe from tipping.


My fishhook snagged two catfish

three squid on the zangareio

seven paddles in the sea

scaring off the little fish.


My boys run-run

to find firewood in the scrub

but leave my dog behind—

the woods are full of ticks.


The press has manioc flour

the cabana has mosquitoes

a sardine has many bones

I will salt the Spanish mackerel.


Watch the wave against the canoe

wave passes, ripple comes

feel the speed bump

that even the sea has

in the bottom of the bow.


It comes quickly and embraces me

my beautiful Caiçara

it kisses me and kneads

the pimenta pepper with babucita.


Tell me your desire

and I’ll rush to fulfill that wish:

a star from the sky

or do you want a starfish?



*Caiçara refers to both a fish trap and the coastal peoples of Rio de Janeiro state, São Paulo state, and Paraná, who have Portuguese, indigenous, and African roots.



Translated by Rachel Morgenstern-Clarren

“Caiçara Song” was published in Guernica.


You can read and listen to the poem in the original Portuguese here.