Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha, Better Known

by Leticia Priebe Rocha

as Carmen Miranda,

the Brazilian Bombshell, our pride and our shame.

I, too, have four names that do not fit

in the mouths of Americans.

You twirled your way from jungle

to civilization and never stopped spiraling -

Lady with the Tutti Frutti Hat, bursting

with light; widen your mouth until luminous teeth

make the cracks underneath go undetected.


I have felt it always, this pull

of death. Your heart gave out at forty-six,

did you feel it too? The rhythms you gave yourself to,

did they seep into your blood, a tic

tic tac tic tic tac in your veins that left you dazzling

the gringos until your own oblivion?

You were buried in the homeland, our people

crying out: “Te perdoamos, Pequena Notável.”

I hope they forgive me too.

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