Serenade


Some night under a pale moon and geraniums
he would come with his incredible hands and mouth
to play the flute in the garden.
I am beginning to despair
and can see only two choices:
either go crazy or turn holy.
I, who reject and reprove
anything that's not natural as blood and veins,
discover that I cry daily,
my hair saddened, strand by strand,
my skin attacked by indecision.
When he comes, for it's clear that he's coming,
how will I go out onto the balcony without my youth?
He and the moon and the geraniums will be the same–
only women of all things grow old.
How will I open the window, unless I'm crazy?
How will I close it, unless I'm holy?


                Portuguese; trans. Ellen Dore Watson


Adelia Prado, Portuguese, trans. Ellen Dore Watson, The Alphabet in the Park: Selected Poems of Adélia Prado, Wesleyan University Press, 1990.