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meeting jorge
made me paralyzed
my body,
while the pampulha lake seeped
through my feet
when I looked at him,
I remembered everything

I remembered
my grandma francisca
the times she brought jabuticabas from her home in the countryside
I always liked jabuticabas
the ploc sound they make when crushed
by my teeth
grandma doesn’t like it much
she feels like she’s chewing someone’s eye

I remembered
the day when foguete, my cat
killed a cockroach and left
it on my bedroom’s rug
foguete was always bringing me presents
that I kept inside a box on the highest shelf
of my closet
(there was a piece of telephone wire
a yellow sock with a hole on the toe
an old silver teaspoon)
part of me thought
that I was going too far

but I kept the cockroach

I remembered
when tomás and I skipped class
to go rowing on parque municipal
that day, I told him
I didn’t want to kiss
just boys for the rest of my life
he didn’t say anything,
just kept rowing
while I looked at the bottom of the lake
the water seemed displaced,
the little waves belated
as in a movie with desynchronized audio
I felt observed
observed by whom? I don’t see anyone here
he said
yeah, me neither
I lied

I remembered
the day I came home from class
and found my father, the box in his hands
the box that I kept
on the highest shelf of my closet
he said that there was nothing wrong
with keeping foguete’s presents
the problem was the cockroach
it had 12 legs


I remembered
the time I asked fernanda, my high school english teacher
the meaning of the word queer
she didn’t know how to answer

but google did:
1, noun, a homosexual man;
2, verb, spoil or ruin (an agreement, event, or situation);
3, adjective, strange; odd.
I swallowed all those dictionary definitions
but they felt like fishbone
stuck to my throat

I remembered
the picnic at praça da liberdade
júlia took green strawberries
I took jabuticabas
we ate and kissed
as youths from a french movie
the strawberry juice

the jabuticabas going

on my teeth

she looked at me
with sour eyes
and I realized my mouth
tasted like blood
after that, júlia never kissed me again
and I stopped eating jabuticabas

I remembered everything
when I saw jorge
saw the green
scales of the face
the thick brown fur
escaping the sleeves of the stained jacket
the dirt disguising itself as glitter
on his polished nails

this time, tomás also looked
he ran away
yelling that it was grotesque

maybe I was also grotesque
because I just stood there
still, looking

       in the eyes

(all those eyes)

while he walked in my direction,
I didn’t want to move
and when he got close enough
he whispered,
in hunger
I see you too

Lu Christófaro writes fiction about the fantastic and the mundane from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. They are one of the founders of Faísca, an independent game studio producing story-driven games. You can find them on Twitter @christofarol_.
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25 Sep 2023

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