Mama Ana Paula Also Writes Poetry

by Hu Xudong

A tobacco of corn husks in mouth, she throws a thick poetry book
at me, “Read your Mama’s poems.”
This is true, my student
José’s mother,
two Brazils on her chest, a South America on her bucks,
a stomach full of beer, surging like Atlantic,
this Mama Ana Paula
writes poetry. The first day I met her, she lifted me
up like an eagle
catching a small chicken, I wasn’t informed She Writes Poetry.
She spat at me her wet words, and rubbed
my face
with her big palm tree fingers. When she licked my
panicked ears
with marijuana tongue, I didn’t know She Writes Poetry.
Everyone including her son José and daughter-in-law Gisele said
she was an old Flower Silly, but no one
told me She Writes Poetry.
“Put my teacher down, my dear old Flower Silly.” José said.
She dropped me, but went on
vomiting “dick” “dick,” and catching “dick”
in the air with her lips. I looked at her
back, strong like hairy bear that kills
a bull even when she’s drunk, and I understood:
She Writes Poetry.
But today, when I followed José into the house, and caught a glimpse
of her lying by the pool
with four limbs stretched out, smoking, I didn’t think She Writes Poetry.
I ran into a ponytail
like Bob Marley, a muscle guy, in the living room, Gisele told me
that’s her mother-in-law’s guy from last night, I didn’t think, even if
you stick me in front of a National Army of China and shoot at my little torso,
that Mama Ana Paula
writes poetry. But Mama Ana Paula
Mama Ana Writes Poetry Paula
writes poetry
which burps and farts. I leafed it through page after page
Mama Ana Paula’s poetry book. Yes, Mama Ana Paula writes poetry
indeed. She doesn’t write fat poetry, liquor poetry,
marijuana poetry, dick poetry, or muscle poetry of muscle guys.
In a poem called “Three Seconds of Silence in Poetry”
she wrote: “Silence in a poem, give me a minute and in it
I can spin the nine yards of sky.”

Translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Katie Farris

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