At twilight

Beneath a chicken that scratches
the landscape slides
towards our intimacy.
The potted plant in the balcony
not exceeding its season in flowers.
The helpless way my head
is balanced at the window,
like in Modigliani’s necklines.
Your hips—a single shape
bivalve, dehiscent.
And the quietness of the breeze in the area of these lines
that, so it appears,
draws the bed-linen to your feet.

by Sebastão Alba

From: Charrua and Beyond: Poems from Mozambique

Sebastão Alba (1940-2001) was a member of the post-independence generation of Mozambican poets. A contemporary of Mia Couto, Eduardo White and Luís Carlos Patraquim, he did not achieve their international success and died a beggar on the streets of Maputo.

THE LUSOPHONE PROJECT: Maria Luísa Coelho, Ana Raquel Fernandes, Tula Teixeira, Jonathan Morley & Ana Teresa Brízio Marques Dos Santos began translating poetry from the former Portuguese colonies in Africa in 2005. They have published two collections from Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. A second Mozambican anthology, featuring the older generation of writers who emerged before independence, is planned.

The Heaventree Press is an independent poetry press based in Coventry. For more information on Heaventree, and to buy Charrua and Beyond: Poems from Mozambique, please visit the Heaventree Press website.