Poetry by Clarissa Macedo

On the Invention of Life

From the invented sea
a stone emerges.

What was invented before this
resonates across time.
There are horses made of water
I was never able to mount
heroes made of algae
who never saved me.

Acts of Creation

The scheme of melodies that grow silent
and verses that run away from the herd
are pierced by the arrow of a symptom.

Signs broken, terrors penetrated,
a far cry from nuptial writings,
I choke on a river of doubt
and perish…the word is my only accomplice
in going insane.


Rain interferes with the islands
like lying down with the lights on.

(It is raining on the island that thunders)

Lost all the signals,
the only thing left other than the mirror

is a restless old map
annotated with pain—cartography
of the invisible.


Wrinkles are the lines
of the days
we have already lived.

Odes made of lava,
wrinkles are a dance
without steps,
with no formal rhythm.

These mysteries
revealed in our faces,
time by now makes
no difference to them.


The song of my sleep
does not speak of emptiness
it fills the prayers I did not say
and sews the clothes I do not have

its notes are like the wind
silence ambiguously weeping

its letters continue unpublished
in the bottom of a faraway
belated lake.


Clarissa Macedo

Clarissa Macedo was born in Salvador, Bahia. She is the author of two collections of poetry, O trem vermelho que partiu das cinzas and Na pata do cavalo há sete abismos (winner of the Prêmio Nacional de Poesia da Academia de Letras da Bahia). She holds a master’s degree in Literature and Cultural Diversity from the State University of Feira de Santana, and she is currently completing a PhD in Literature and Culture at the Federal University of Bahia. In addition to her work as a poet, she is a teacher, researcher, literary translator, and reviser. She has participated in literary events in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Cuba. Her work has been featured in seventeen anthologies and has appeared in a variety of venues in Spanish, including the bilingual En la pata del caballo hay siete abismos, translated by Verónica Aranda (Madrid: Editorial Polibea, 2017). Further information may be found at her blog: http://clarissamacedo.com.br/.

Robert Smith

Robert Smith holds a B.A. in English and Italian from Indiana University. In 2014, he was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in the Northeast of Brazil. He currently resides in Juazeiro, Bahia. His translations of poems from Italian and Portuguese are forthcoming in Pusteblume and New Poetry in Translation, respectively. He can be reached at [email protected].

Na pata do cavalo há sete abismos. Copyright (c) Clarissa Macedo, 2014. English translation copyright (c) Robert Smith, 2018.