Does it haunt your dreams, or become like a pebble in your shoe?
The dark glossy leaves of the jeniparana,
The bright pink flowers of the bougainvillea,
The explosion of sugar of the banana ouro hacked from the tree?

Remember hiding in hammocks pretending to nap,
Chasing sandcrabs and stepping in pitch,
Visiting your sister’s pet monkey at the animal hospital—
An extended veranda filled with macaws screaming?

My pearl-crusted tutu for Carnival, the drumbeat of the sambas,
The pelting of the rain against the windshield with no wipers,
The salt of the ocean and the syrup of grape Fanta?

Explain choking on Cornflakes and powdered milk
Or taking the bus to the favela to pick out a live chicken
To our kids with American grocery stores.

 

— For Dougie

 

 

 

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Eva Rosenn grew up both in Latin America and in a number of different states throughout the US, ever the outsider.  She holds a PhD from Columbia in medieval comparative literature.

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