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Hélder Faife

Hélder Faife was born in Maputo, Mozambique, in 1974. He is the author of several poetry collections, incuding Desdenhos (Cavalo do Mar, 2017), Contos de fuga (A2 Design, 2010),  and Poemas em sacos vazios que ficam de pé (A2 Design, 2010)—both winners of the Concurso Literário da empresa Telecominicações de Moçambique. A member of the Mozambique Writers Association, he lives in Maputo.

By This Poet



With every stroke of her pencil  
the little girl unfurls dreams
and traces childhood’s uncertain roadmaps. 

A twisted loom,
lines on a page mending sorrows
which she weaves into life’s purity.

In a scarring script
she tattoos the wavering future
on the bare skinned wall.


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.

The End

In the end, tree, a cloudy shelter will come 
to cover your dry, aged branches.

It will lend you, short on green,
the white glow of its weightlessness

As a drop undoes the cloud into tears
I’ll tell my children:
no, the tree didn’t die,
your childhood sun has set.