jennifer sarah frota

leaf feather petal

kingfisher pomegranate
tanagers splash
kiskadees in the banana leaves
as hummingbirds honeysuckle
Atlantic Rainforest under cobblestones
and industrious ants of all sizes

a long way from cherry blossoms
in the year of the rooster
while crow pigeon sparrow
chase down Grant at Chestnut
past ladies, past dragons
through the oily coffee smoke
roasting beans
& dim sum steam

what call you from your northern garden?
storm petrel
in from the jersey shore
starling longing
a robin mouthful of chubby grubs
her breast so red her eggs so blue

a long way from the cormorants laughing
bobbing in the Pacific tide

oh to the singing, oh to the flying
this is the garden, this the garden

you in yours
and i in mine
and the play of the vines


the sober well to do too     the pat on the head
wise crack
as she adjusts her mother’s antique crackleware on the way out
to the ballet’s newest finest presentation of the Nutcracker
just more war cleaned up & sugary
the royal fuck in sashays and pliés: rape with cologne
Clara refigured screams “The white powder dream starts with sugar!” & ends
in a Serra Pelada pit or someone’s rolling eyes, itching, sweating at 127 A Precita Ave. waiting for Rose
                 sugar plum faries my ass

 real faries hate sugar          real faries
love moss

        love water
                    love the smell of the pepper tree

love the bright sting of a fresh jalapeño

put flame to sugar to taste the bitterness it hides inside
 that pat on the head
but roast a chile & it just gets juicier & sweet

 i am a woman for God’s sake

crack down

    firecracker crack back crack of dawn

fissure of morning light
in a poem or some such whachamajigit prose
concerned with the edge in language
a hemorrhage of memory?

a hemorrhage
& in an instant
i remember

my godmother is saying “recuerdas”

the girl in the boxing ring at King’s
her smile rose a mile high
trainer & boxer
the smile –Rose
odds against it but still worth the fight


once the forgotten
smack dab in the middle
i am in a chicken shack
tack upon tack
los olvidados, but the urban version
no naked kids chasing chickens
in the hot sun in hungry waterless ponds
but here in the 1st world
two steps away from AFDC
a violent undercurrent
fueling everything
quickly turns to boredom
waiting for the medi-cal stickers

pack the knap sack with their morning snacks
notebook, lunch box
my son’s teacher shows me
his writing book—the spelling word he chose for the day
under which he drew a picture
of a stick being cracked in half

«±  ±»

jennifer sarah frota was born in El Centro, California in 1963. She received a BA from SFSU and an MA in Comparative Literature with an emphasis on Brazilian Literature and Translation, also from SFSU. Her translations of Brazilian poetry appear in various publications including: The Magazine: Literary Journal of SFSU, New American Writing and The Pip Anthology of World Poetry of the 20th Century (Vol. 3)-Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain: 20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets (Green Integer, 2003),  Sky-Eclipse the poetry of Régis Bonvicino (2002), Potiguar Rainforests: Nature and Surrealism photos by Fernando Chiriboga and poetry by Leila Medeiros (Inti Press 2004), word for word #10 and elsewhere. Some of her original poetry and experimental fiction has appeared in the literary journal Letterbox and elsewhere.




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