“Samba da Sua Terra” by Alejandro Aguirre

Alejandro Aguirre


Light as swash, her soles
left no trace in the sand,
sandals pelagic like caravels.
She had tossed hers
to the sea as if they
had always belonged there,
sailing on their cloth straps,
and she here, barefoot,
teaching samba. She spread
her sarong from luff to leech
and, laying it by my feet,
said that I was not dancing
if it puckered at my heels.
I wasn’t dancing; we tuned
the radio to a Portuguese station,
the host speaking too quickly
for me. Listening, my instructor
confessed that she missed
being a fisherman’s daughter
and how wrong she was to dream
of what lay beyond Laguna,
saudade like dolphin clicks
felt against the shin
with no net to cast.

from Poets Respond
February 5, 2023


Alejandro Aguirre: “A new study suggests that the dolphins that have been helping Brazilian fishermen catch mullet fish since potentially as early as the 1850s live longer than other dolphins. I’ve only ever made one catch: a catfish about the size of my forearm. How much is a ticket to Laguna?” (web)

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