The Unverifiable Resurrection of Adão da Barco
First, a tourist finds a poem in the leper colony,
carved in a kapok, ants swarming sap in the cuts.
Then a fisherman uncovers instructions for a rain dance,
an usher discovers recipes for the jubilee.
A riverboat captain comes to town and leads them
to a tree in the north describing the mating habits
of the marabunta, to one in the south with an ode to plums.
In the west, a sonnet about a hen named Lucifer
whose fiendish eggs buzzed but when opened held only
wings and stingers. The town banishes him when
he lashes himself to a poem and scratches out the last
two lines but invites him back when a psalm
about the bastard tongue of Jesus’s sister appears in the east.
No one believes the boy he carries off the boat
is his own, not even when he shows them the statue
of the sundered madonna whose toothsome breasts
smell like the common, vulgar sweetness of maracuja.
A mule, wasp-stung and raging, tramples the child
in front of an elegy for Lazarus’s wife. The town collects
mummified hummingbirds for the boy’s pockets,
but the captain returns from the jungle with something
dripping from his knife—pulsing, doubtless, radiant.
What could bring back a son. What in God’s name
was sweet, is sweet, will be sweeter after sundering.
Volume 35, Number 4 Cover art by Margaret Withers
upcoming eventsJanuary 28 (Wednesday) 7:30 pm, Seattle: Hugo House is holding the release party for our new issue. Readers include Kelli Russell Agodon, Kevin Craft, Michelle Peñaloza, Susan Rich, and Christopher Robinson. Poetry editor Rick Barot will emcee. February 10 (Tuesday) 7 pm, Boston: A celebration of NER with readings by contributors Brock Clarke, Lisa Van Orman Hadley, Matthew Lippman, Lenore Myka, and Alexandria Peary. February 24 (Tuesday) 7:30 pm, Middlebury, VT: In the tradition of public radio's Selected Shorts, enjoy this evening of original prose and poetry from NER, read aloud by Middlebury College students, with a "s'more readings" reception after the event. March 10 (Tuesday) 4:30 pm, Middlebury, VT: NER is teaming up with the College Library to host a reading for Please Do Not Remove, with contributors Gary Margolis, David Dillon, and Karin Gottshall.
It was a thin paperback novel, creased, softened by wear, part of the Penguin series of Contemporary American Fiction, dirty white with big letters hard-shadowed in red: DON DELILLO and below, bigger yet, END ZONE. This was on a gray Saturday morning in Pittsburgh, where I had landed not long before at the end of the 1990s. [Read more]