"É de Cultura como instrumento para a felicidade, como arma para o civismo, como via para o entendimento dos povos que vos quero falar"

Portugal visto por escritores estrangeiros


by Kimberly Nunes

I am in my hotel room writing poetry

and Antonieta comes in.

It is Sunday and I wonder why

we can’t skip today.

I would make my own bed

or leave it undone - yet

I like how she stacks pillows, rolls

towels, turns the edge of the throw.


Stripping sheets, now, I pantomime

quickly from the desk across the room:

You don’t do that every day, do you?


There’s the water, her labor, but mostly

I like my scent on the sheets -

how a bed becomes a flower.


She signs back

with a rolling hand, and creased brow:

only, every few days.

And now…(why do I need to feel better?) 


In the bathroom, I hear

breaths and sniffs as

she sprays the cleaner, squeak-wipes

the mirror. Pretty and blonde,

the odor of her cigarettes

as she lugs linens and bottles of water.

Sometimes, the breathing

sounds like crying, some days

she snaps her gum.

Was she out dancing last night

or home - where is?


She points at my cup,

old with milky foam crust:

may I take it?

Arranges clean port glasses,

a replenished bowl of raisins,

refills the carafe -


Obrigada, obrigada,

we each say and

I wave as she backs away,

pushing buckets and vacuums

into the hall,

where I hear her sneeze

and happy her phone rings.


A scent of orange through the window

when I stand to cross the room,

to hang the schhh sign on the knob, to return

to my last line - something of

purple avenues with marble sidewalks,

how in Lisbon -

Jacaranda flowers swirl.

by Kimberly Nunes

Having lived a life from farm to city, and a lot in between, Kimberly Nunes holds an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. With a bachelor’s in French and three master’s degrees that span business to fine art, she has taught courses at the college level, worked in business in New York City, raised her children and volunteered for myriad philanthropic projects. Born in the Salinas Valley, she is committed to place, people and “these spirits who inhabit our spaces.” 

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