Translated from the Portuguese by Hilary Kaplan

 

amelia, the real woman,

ran away with the bearded lady

balderdash!

they lived in a small hut

on the banks of the monkey arroyo

in pedra lascada, rio grande do sul

 

at first they were terribly isolated

they had no visitors

no television

they passed the time in close self-examination

because they’d gotten lice

and the place was infested with fleas

 

‘we’re free,’ amelia would say

throwing herself on the sofa

and sighing

the bearded lady sighed too

she sighed so much

she was soon deflated

 

‘you liked things better before?’

asked amelia, suspicious

she was afraid her companion

was dwelling on the circus

now that they spent their days

just the two of them in the hut

 

the bearded lady had always been a person

of few, precise words

she hardly ever spoke

she consented with a nod, shook her head

if she didn’t agree, like a simpleton

or someone who’d lost their tongue

 

the bearded lady simply didn’t feel

the need to discuss

every little everyday thing

this troubled amelia

and besides the fleas and lice

there were other insects up the wazoo

 

…………………………………………

…………………………………………

…………………………………………

 

‘i don’t even know who i live with’

said amelia, one day in the hut

‘i’m going out for cigarettes’

said the bearded lady

‘you’re not going anywhere’

said amelia, ‘sit your hairy

butt on the sofa

’cause I need to talk’

the bearded lady harumphed

but did what her partner asked

 

amelia talked about her childhood

in a town called black spot, rio grande do sul

and how she was the girl everyone desired

because she wasn’t vain at all

and at least five different boys

wanted to marry her

because she was low-maintenance

she got more miles to the gallon

etc etc etc

 

‘now tell me about the bearded lady’

 

lady   lady   lady

the bearded lady

hated that word

(almost as much as she hated

‘bearded lady’)

‘and if this nut

were my delilah?

what would i do?

where would i run?’

 

‘you know what’s good for the stomach?

artichoke tea’

is what the bearded lady heard

come out of her mouth

 

…………………………………………

…………………………………………

…………………………………………

 

mysterious black dots

invaded the space

before amelia’s eyes

‘enough,’ she said. ‘you don’t appreciate me’

and then, ‘get your hairy butt up off the sofa

and do something’

so the bearded lady got her hairy butt up

off the sofa and did something: she boarded a boat bearing a greek flag

the spontanyus kombustyon, and sailed away to join

the navy. she became admiral reapwhatyuso

no more was heard from him or her

amelia returned to black spot

where she was forgiv… promo… mar…

 

…………………………………………

…………………………………………

…………………………………………

 

 

 

Photograph © Thomas Hawk, 2006

Five Things Right Now: Evie Wyld
(nostalgia)