Rua São Gonçalo

The street has two sounds:
the bus and the slap

of flip-flops
against heel.

Two smells and two people,

varnish and old coconut,
one-eyed green shells piled with the chipped roof stucco;

woman and child, hip slung,
staring at the woman’s neck as her head twists

toward the sound of a motor,
route number swimming in her eye

as a bus rides the rolling cobblestones,
tilting on all axes.

There is an addition here, between these elements,
and a sum. There

are small, tight-fleshed fruits tucked into
palm and cashew trees

that lean over cement walls so each leaf carves a precise darkness
from the overbearing light,

and any breeze only moves the unblurring edges
of what is unexposed.

LIZ RODRIGUES is a graduate of Kenyon College and the MFA program of Florida Atlantic University, where she was a Sanders Fellow. Liz is currently a PhD student in English literature at the University of Michigan.