“The Visit” and other poems – Adelaide Ivánova

We post here four poems by Adelaide Ivánova, out of her début collection O Martelo (“The Hammer“), translated from the Portuguese by Chris Daniels. The volume was originally published in Portugal in 2016 on Douda Correria, and was recently released in Brazil by Editora Garupa.

Four poems by Adelaide Ivánova
translated from the Portuguese by Chris Daniels

the visit

how many moths
spiders lice
and other beasts
infest inhabit
the visitor’s mattress
Humboldt never went to get
faking forgetfulness
after it was too late
and we were way too
in love to go get
the visitor’s mattress
in the garret
so we made do with this

how many moths
spiders lice
and other beasts
in another accursed
mattress they witnessed
another mattress
another visit
the quick start
the violence
the blood
good blood no
there was arrival
and then silence

because of sand web dust
moss mold spider
i jumped to the other
bed other beasts
before had inhabited me
already ants
mites pisceans
fleas only
moths and Humboldt
didn’t screw me

years before the curse
though sand web dust
i could never again
leave that bed
there are beasts less trustworthy
than moths there’s the hyena
fish snake scabies
if there are 2 on the mattress
for 1 visitor there will
always be one who is not

the cat

the official didn’t take me seriously
in the least and she asked me all slick
did i really want to open
an investigation she was wearing a
wonderfully awful outfit
pants and blouse
jeans on jeans
after reading through the papers
the official made me think of janus
the roman king with two faces and
the cat with two faces who
died at 15 it’s rare
for a cat like that to live so long
yet the official lives on in her little outfit
jeans on janus.


the sow

the clerk is a person
and she’s curious just
like all persons are curious
she asks me why i drank so
much i don’t answer but i
know people drink to die
only not to die a lot
she asks me why didn’t i
scream since i wasn’t
gagged i don’t answer but i know
we’re all born with the gag
the clerk in her starched
white shirt
is an excellent officer and
typist she reminds me so much
of a song
of an animal i can’t remember which.


the vulture

corpus delicti is
the expression used
when law is breached and
traces of the fact of a crime
are left making the body a
place and of the crime an
adjective the examination
consists of seeing and being
seen (parties also
consist of these)

lying on a gurney with
four doctors around me talking
about mucous membranes the strike
the lack of disposable cups
and deciding in front of my open
legs if after work should they
all go to the bar or what?
the doctor from the institute
of legal medicine wrote his report
not looking at my face
talking on his cell phone

me and the doctor have a body
and at least two other things in common:
we both love talking on the phone
and going to the bar
the doctor is a person
he deals with dead men
and living women
(he calls them pieces of


Adelaide Ivánova (b. 1982 in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil) is a Brazilian journalist, photographer, writer, and translator. Her first two books are autonomy (São Paulo, Pingado-Prés, 2014), and Polaróides (Recife, Césarea, 2014). Her work has been shown in Brazil, Argentina, the US, Germany, France, and Spain, and is in the collections of L’arthotèque (Brest, France) and Kunst Dieselkraftwerk (Cottbus, Germany). Her writing, translations, and photographs have been published in journals like i-D (UK), Colors (Italy), The Huffington Post (US), Modo de Usar & Co. (Brazil), Suplemento Pernambuco (Brazil), Der Greif (Germany), Vogue and Marie Claire (Brazil), Ojo de Pez (Spain), and Vision (China), among others. She lives and works between Cologne and Berlin.