I’m the absence of that town’ – Polina Cosgrave
I’ve never left that town
home of Latin America’s largest hospice
where the military first wrecked,
then abandoned so many youths.
I’ve never left that neighbourhood called Hills
immersed in an evergreen forest of Eucalyptus
under which every boy experienced sexuality.
I’ve never left that street named Winter,
where next-doors shared baked corn
and drank coffee like they were afraid
of nightmares during stormy nights.
I’ve never left that house numbered 283
where the Plinia Caulifora is yet to be harvested,
and the electric installation is an unsolvable puzzle.
I’ve never left any of these places,
and, in the morning, before opening my eyes,
I still hear the woodpecker carving out wood.
Rafael Mendes is the winner of the (un)belonging Best Poetry Prize.