Without commas in her gaze,
the little girl dribbles colons with each breath
and swears an exclamation mark
is a lollipop:
“Is growing up for real or make-believe?”
Dot dot dot, I gasped.
A question mark is a fisherman’s hook.
I’d taken the bait of uncertainty,
when she offered me as consolation,
wrapped in quotation marks, a single Smartie.
Originally published in the April 2019 issue of Words Without Borders. "Pontuação" © Helder Faife. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2019 by Sandra Tamele and Eric M. B. Becker. All rights reserved.