WHERE DO THE SCREAMS GO
Inhaling comes first and is mute.
The wait that separates the inhale from the sound is mute.
The nasal cavities open up, the air filters in;
it takes over the mouth – slides down the windpipe;
it splits into the bronchioles, straight into the alveoli.
An inverted tree lives in our chests.
What cannot be said loosens up from the mouth as wind bubbles in the sea:
the chest, a nocturnal pool, empty and lit up.
The deeper the dive, the faster the sound propagates.
What cannot be said emerges as volcanic eruptions upon the skin:
a basalt highland.
Some volcanoes have magma that escapes horizontally,
I write a cliff of screams as I walk through a field of obsidian.
Why are you screaming, woman?
The mouth uses all of its instruments:
the tongue, the lips, the teeth, the palate and gums –
everything comes together in order to utter...
What is this silence that takes hold of us?
The tongue touching the teeth, a hive held in by the lips.
We are generous; we extend our silence,
our body, our blood
in order for your voices to prevail –
we are generous; we are an echo or a concord.
The field has been taken up by the algae,
the night has brought ice upon it –
it is three o'clock, the last hour of the day.
In a life of multiple migrations,
the arctic tern travels the distance from the Earth to the Moon;
it crosses the Atlantic, from one pole to the other, searching for light.
The arctic terns have a mate, but travelling,
they lose each other.
The boats don't reach Iceland, but the Dublin Regulation does.
A continent spends years learning the art of raising walls
– in the water, air or invisible ones.
A twenty-two-year-old man jumped into Gullfoss.
He was from Georgia. Another set himself on fire in front of the Red Cross.
Where do the screams of fire and water go?
Where do the ones in search of a home go?
In Iceland, stationary birds are rare, most are migratory.
There are Oðin's advisors, ink over ice.
There is the lóa that ushers the spring in, lóan er komin –.
The claws leave branches and live on, in an inverted fall.
The scream is also
a kind of flight.
My tongue here
or almost so
it is only in silence
that it’s an intimate whisper
the outcome of translation.
My tongue is an inverted flower
a word that means body as well as language
and I can't bridge the two.
When you bite a fig
its flesh and essence
it’s like entering a garden of dead wasps
the tongue tasting the plant
its sweet bulge, once waiting to be fertilized.
What is this gesture that repeats itself even after 34 million years?
When I enter into this language
its ancient essence
I bite into the stone memory inside me
that of language before the teeth
the borderless bulge of my primitive existence.
It’s not just when falling that we lose wings
(one must leave them on the outside)
it happens as we slither in through the funnelled corridor
searching for food and perpetuation.
As we penetrate the fig, we give up on flying.
In order to dig an exit from the silent vessel
one must have strong jaws
fierce teeth and minute eyes
– one must know how to get around in the darkness.
The mint sprout didn't die from being removed from the ground
– it has been living in a vase –
it has invented roots and new leaves.
In my city we wait for the frost to undo itself
as tongues wait for teething –
to rub the crowns as they stick out from the gum
be ready to bite –
what is it that lives on beneath the white cloak?
Our foreign bodies get ready
(as the wasp mother lays her eggs in the fig)
searching for soil.
Francesca Cricelli is a poet and literary translator. She holds PhD in Literature and Translation Studies from the University of São Paulo (Brazil) and has published poetry collections Repátria (Demônio Negro, 2015), 16 poemas +1 (Sagarana Forlag, 2017), As cruvas negras da terra (Nosotros, 2019) as well as a book of travel prose, Errância (Macondo, 2019). She has translated the works of Elena Ferrante, Igiaba Scego and Fernando Pessoa and many others. She now lives in Reykjavík, Iceland, to study Icelandic literature and language. The poems here are author’s recreations of the Portuguese originals.