At first,

in the outskirts of Lisbon, the Afrikander,
builds a bone temple for all the lads,

the book-keeper and the post-boy,
Pessoa and Barreto. He cradles the Lusophones

until their vinegar spills into the sea, conducts
symphonies out of the craggy stones blotting

the coastline, plays the metal lattice in the rock
like fiddlestrings—until the chilled Bay

is singing, until Rue dos Douradores
looks like Panjim, looks like Tanga,

sings like Dar. But when the Afrikander takes
a wife, conceives four children, he grows

a temper that eats those gentle hills, transforms
the plump terrain into something flat and nameless.

The Afrikander seeks the ruins, the fortressed
cliffs sunk, the windmills crashing to the shores.

My father once told me:
“your problem…your problem,”

my father said, “is that you think like a man,
but have all the desires of a woman.”

I know he did not mean to mean weak
but it is what he meant.


Author Image

Megan Fernandes is a PhD candidate in English at the University of California, Santa Barbara and holds an MFA in poetry from Boston University. She is the poetry editor of the anthology Strangers in Paris (Tightrope Books) and is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Organ Speech (Corrupt Press) and Some Citrus Makes Me Blue (Dancing Girl Press). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Memorious, RATTLE, Redivider, Upstairs at Duroc, and the California Journal of Poetics. She teaches poetry and drama at Boston University and Lesley University.

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