I SIT CROSS-LEGGED AT THE CACHOEIRA AND WILL A CHILD INTO BEING

Pirenópolis, Goiás

by Kim Sousa

I hold him in my lap. 
We play I spy, making shapes
of the rocks rising out of the water:
eu vejo um grande crocodilo, 
eu vejo um grande nariz—
o que ele ‘tá cheirando? 
Seus pés? Mas que chulé! 
I kiss his toes. 
His curls tickle my face 
when he throws his head back. 
He smells like coconut oil 
and wet earth. 
I made him from clay.
I can only look forward,
to wherever the water rushes. 
To the single palm rising up
as the tallest tree
against a cloudless sky. 
I can’t turn back, to where he isn’t. 
The monkeys above me 
chitter a warning, 
and a procession of neighbors
breaks through the mist.
Just like that, the child falls 
from my lap and down
into the rushing water. 
Down to where a man drowned, 
pulled by the current. Held
under by something strong
and invisible as teaching 
a phantom child his curls 
make a crown. His wet footprints 
still stamped on the rocks
as past-future improbabilities.
To know the current is there, 
to choose not to jump. 


Kim Sousa (she/they) is a queer Brazilian American poet, editor and open border radical. She was born in Goiânia, Goiás and immigrated to Austin, Texas with her family at age five. Her poems can be found in Poet Lore, EcoTheo Review, The Boiler, The Missouri Review, [PANK] Magazine’s Latinx Lit Celebration, Harvard’s PALABRITAS, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection, ALWAYS A RELIC NEVER A RELIQUARY, is the winner of Black Lawrence Press’ 2020 St. Lawrence First Book Prize and is forthcoming July 2022. Along with Até Mais: Until More, an Anthology of Latinx Futurisms (forthcoming, Deep Vellum Books), she is the co-editor of the limited-run anthology of immigrant and first-generation poetry, No Tender Fences, which donated 100% of its proceeds to the immigrant advocacy network, RAICES Texas. You can find Kim at http://www.kimsousawrites.com and on Twitter @kimsoandso and @LatinxFuturisms.

Published
Categorized as Poetry