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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Philip Levine - You Can Have It

My brother comes home from work

and climbs the stairs to our room.

I can hear the bed groan and his shoes drop   

one by one. You can have it, he says.


The moonlight streams in the window   

and his unshaven face is whitened

like the face of the moon. He will sleep

long after noon and waken to find me gone.


Thirty years will pass before I remember   

that moment when suddenly I knew each man   

has one brother who dies when he sleeps   

and sleeps when he rises to face this life,


and that together they are only one man   

sharing a heart that always labors, hands   

yellowed and cracked, a mouth that gasps   

for breath and asks, Am I gonna make it?


All night at the ice plant he had fed

the chute its silvery blocks, and then I   

stacked cases of orange soda for the children   

of Kentucky, one gray boxcar at a time


with always two more waiting. We were twenty   

for such a short time and always in

the wrong clothes, crusted with dirt

and sweat. I think now we were never twenty.


In 1948 in the city of Detroit, founded

by de la Mothe Cadillac for the distant purposes   

of Henry Ford, no one wakened or died,   

no one walked the streets or stoked a furnace,


for there was no such year, and now

that year has fallen off all the old newspapers,

calendars, doctors’ appointments, bonds,   

wedding certificates, drivers licenses.


The city slept. The snow turned to ice.   

The ice to standing pools or rivers

racing in the gutters. Then bright grass rose   

between the thousands of cracked squares,


and that grass died. I give you back 1948.   

I give you all the years from then

to the coming one. Give me back the moon   

with its frail light falling across a face.


Give me back my young brother, hard

and furious, with wide shoulders and a curse   

for God and burning eyes that look upon   

all creation and say, You can have it.