dear angélica

dear angélica


dear angélica I can’t make it I got stuck
in the elevator between the ninth and tenth floors and by
the time the elevator man realised it was already ten-thirty


dear angélica I can’t make it I had a little
problem at home my hair got caught in
the washing machine actually it’s still stuck now I’m
dictating this email to my neighbour


dear angélica I can’t make it my dog
died and was resurrected and ascended to heaven
I spent the whole afternoon involved with firemen
and aerial ladder trucks


dear angélica I can’t make it I lost my bank card
in an atm I went to complain
to the security guard who was actually a crook
he stole my purse and I had amnesia from the shock


dear angélica I can’t make it my boss called
at the last minute saying he went to hawaii
on a motorcycle and I had to go to work
in a bikini so I caught a cold


dear angélica I can’t make it I’m in
a cybercafe by the orinoco I was kidnapped
by a terrorist group please deposit
ten thousand dollars in account 11308-0 at citibank
valparaiso branch thanks I’ll pay you back when I get home






woman in red


what could she want
this woman in red
she must want something
since she’s wearing that dress
it can’t be just
a casual choice
it could have been yellow
green or even blue
but she chose red
she knows what she wants
and she chose that dress
and she’s a woman
so based on these facts
i can conclude
i know what she wants
it’s elementary, dear watson:
what she wants is me
it’s me she wants
it could only be me
what else could it be








men women are born they grow
they see how others are born
and how they disappear
from this mystery a cemetery arises
they bury bodies then forget


men women are born they grow
they see how others are born
and how they disappear
they record, record with their phones
make spreadsheets then forget


they hope their time comes slowly
men women
don’t know what comes next
so they go to grad school


men women are born they grow
they know that one day they’re born
and the next they disappear
but that’s not why they forget
to turn off the lights and the gas






These poems were selected for inclusion in the January 2015 Translation Issue by Daniel Medin, a contributing editor of The White Review. He helps direct the Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris, and is an editor of The Cahiers Series and Music & Literature.


ANGÉLICA FREITAS (b. 1973) is the author of Rilke Shake (2007). She co-edits the poetry journal Modo de Usar & Co. and lives in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The sequence of poems published here are from her latest collection, Um útero é do tamanho de um punho, published by Cosacnaify in 2012.

Hilary Kaplan's translations include Rilke Shake by Angélica Freitas (forthcoming from Phoneme Media), for which she received a PEN Translation Fund award, and Ghosts by Paloma Vidal. Her work has been featured on BBC Radio 4 and in Modern Poetry in Translation.