In Brazil

for Adélia Prado

Poets swagger up and down the shore, I’ll bet,
Wagging their hips in time to the raucous tide.
They tip back their heads and life sears a path
Down the throat. At night they dance, don’t they,
Across tiles that might as well be glass, or ice.
And if they don’t want to spend the evening alone,
They don’t. And if they want to wear snow-angels
Into the sheets of some big empty bed, that’s
What they do, until a dark form takes shape
On the ceiling overhead. Then they put on a robe
And kick around looking for some slippers.
When the poem finally arrives, it grins
And watches back with wide credulous eyes.

From Duende. Copyright © 2007 by Tracy K. Smith. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota,