Illustration by Elisa Wouk Almino for This House by Ana Martins Marques (Scrambler Books)

The Sea

She said
the sea
sometimes improbable things come
not merely plastic bags cardboard wood
empty bottles condoms beer cans
also umbrellas shoes fans
and a sofa
she said
it’s possible to look
for a long time
it is here I come
to clear my eyes
she said
those who were born far from
the sea
those who never saw
the sea
what will they make
of the limitless?
what will they make
of leaving?
will they think of taking a long road
and not looking back?
think of airport
border controls?
when they say
I want to kill myself
will they think of blades
for I only think
of the sea

One day

We didn’t sleep;
we believed the night
could be replaced by coffee
and it was

our round heads
under a round moon

we were saved by the small restaurant open until so
keeping in its heart bright red

you carried in your pockets
coins from three countries

dawn came like the cover
of a notebook

we talked as though writing subtitles
for photographs

we wanted so much
so little

we took the bus
at the last minute

side by side
like a bilingual

TRANSLATED BY Elisa wouk almino

*   *   *

Ana Martins Marques was born in Belo Horizonte in 1977. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. She is the author of three poetry collections, A vida submarina (2009), Da arte das armadilhas (2011), and O livro das semelhanças (2015). Da arte das armadilhas won the Brazilian National Library Foundation Prize and was shortlisted for the Portugal Telecom Award.

Elisa Wouk Almino is a translator from Portuguese and the associate editor of Hyperallergic. Her forthcoming translated collection of poetry by Ana Martins Marques, This House, will be published in June by Scrambler Books. Her writing and translations have appeared in Guernica Magazine, Stonecutter Journal, n+1, Ugly Duckling Presse’s 6×6 Journal, Asymptote Journal, harlequin creature, and Words Without Borders.

Readers are encouraged to submit 3–5 poems as a PDF to Wendy Xu for consideration at

Wendy Xu is the author of the poetry collections Phrasis (Fence, 2017), winner of the 2016 Ottoline Prize, and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013). The recipient of a Ruth...