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Red Paint

/marina carreira


Careful not to drown each other, my therapist warns. I tell her my partner and I are both Aquarius, that I dreamt she left me for another life. I never considered how this love could swallow me until all my limbs burst and are remade brick. I’ve always thought this love a revolution of lavender, a warm compress on the belly of illness, a Hollywood dingy in the movie storm of my life. But the tide is coming in strong with doubt, ebb and flow revealing rot. Memories of better days at sea does nothing to quell the undertow.  Truth is, love’s always sunk me— renegade mermaid I stand at a distance from the wreckage, more hook than fish.


I’ve been ready for the End Times since Avó adjusted the restless rusty antennas, turned up Telemundo,

and watched American-formed wars and famines in Spanish, muttered, É o fim do mundo to no one.

I sat by the open window and looked out at the Sanitation guys toss bags heavy with memories of the Old World,

police dash down East Ferry in a fury to lock up someone just trying to survive. When Amalia was born, my body became

a pandemic; I believed I would kill her if I didn’t wash my hands a billion times a day, skin raw as meat, toys sanitized

till they broke, binky boiled to death. As expected, she grew up to show me we all get sick and live anyway.

Today, I watch neighbors swarm the ShopRight, load up on overpriced nonperishables and generic bleach,

Amazon sell out of masks and Purell, stock markets plummet and men in charge making terrible decision

after terrible decision, always putting human interest last. The irony of folks that hate the poor and migrant

trying to flee from their contained cities. Some things never change, some people never will  but I’ve learned everything

but death is inevitable. When the end of the world comes, I will await its arrival the way Avô greeted every morning

in his old age: peeling an orange extra slow, delighting in how it leaves our chins smelling.

Marina Carreira is a queer Luso-American writer and multimedia artist from Newark, NJ. She is the author of Save the Bathwater (Get Fresh Books, 2018) and I Sing to That Bird Knowing It Won’t Sing Back (Finishing Line Press, 2017). She has work featured in Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Paterson Literary Review, The Acentos Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Green Mountain Review, Hinchas de Poesia, wildness journal, and Harpoon Review. Marina is a recipient of the Sundress Academy for the Arts Summer 2020 Residency fellowship. As a visual artist, she has exhibited her work at Morris Museum, ArtFront Galleries, West Orange Arts Council, Monmouth University Center for the Arts, and Living Incubator Performance Space {LIPS} in the Gateway Project Spaces in Newark, NJ. She is founding member of “Brick City Collective”, a Newark-based multicultural, multimedia group working for social change through the arts.


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