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ADELAIDE Independent Bimonthly Literary Magazine / Revista Literária Independente Bimensal, New York / Lisboa, Online Edition  

 




 

 



 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IT TAKES
By Carla Sofia Ferreira

 

 

 

 

 

I cannot imagine
a greater strength
than what it takes
for an immigrant
to leave their homeland.

Remember your hardest goodbye
the one that returns to you
when you least expect
the one that keeps you awake
sometimes.
Imagine if you can
that goodbye stretched
over mountains and rivers
and houses you have known
and even the lilt and turn
of language.  Imagine that
goodbye times an entire country.
Imagine it happening
without you asking.

In Portuguese, we never say goodbye
once. We say it over and over like
the end of an important prayer.
We say it in English and in Portuguese.
We repeat our goodbyes
because we never want a goodbye
to be final.  We love and fear the oceans
that divide us.  Perhaps fear, too,
is a type of love.

I can talk to you of saudade
and of the longing in be-
longing but there is no language
for it—
for the leaving.
It is beyond translation.

 

 

 

About the Author:

Carla

Carla Sofia Ferreira, originally from the Ironbound community in Newark, New Jersey, she studied at Harvard where she wrote a creative thesis: a compilation of 52 original poems, In Transit, focusing on urban ecology and transience in (im)migration.  Currently, Carla teaches intermediate English language acquisition to first-generation immigrants in high school.  Her parents emigrated from Portugal to the United States.  When she’s not teaching, Carla is likely trying to keep small succulents alive, reading poetry, or watching telenovelas.

 

 

 




 




 

 

 

     
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