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Passou de branco, preto é. Não existe este negócio de mulato.
Mulato pra mim é cor de mula.
—Tim Maia

They say I was born na cinza das horas
          of the time
when sun has slit its wrists
into the undarkened sky

and some have cried openly
at the newborn color. But is the spectrum
born? Or torn from stubbornly
disobedient scores of prisms

that refuse the stick instead for feast
of antropofagia.
 Eating all they can eat
or at least all of what string is

dangled in front of their nose. I know
this game well. I have since trod
many miles with a mão
          enorme solidly

promising the knowledge of steed
and strength of ass yet, sat backwards,
my rider not knowing the difference. Indeed, I wonder
at the validity of color, at the providence of a Black

Orpheus. What song is there to sing
me home? What map is made by O Cavalo Morto?
I look to the stars to bring
me answers, but all I see is the absence of color.



Woody Dismukes is a Brazilian-American poet and author living in Jackson Heights, Queens. He is a 2018 Clarion West graduate and has taught at University Settlement’s Creative Center. His work is featured in Huizache, Lightspeed, Apex, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @WoodyDismukes or on his website woodydismukes.com.
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19 Feb 2024

That was Father—a storm in a drought, a comet in the night. Acting first, thinking later, carried on not by foresight, but on luck’s slippery feet. And so we were not as surprised as we should have been when, one warm night in our tenth year on the mountain, Father showed us the flying machine.
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