The sun keeps climbing

Even nature wants to pay homage
to the mothers who feel unhappy
because they can’t realize
the desires of their children.

Dona Teresinha came to visit me.
She gave me 15 cruzeiros and said
it was for Vera to go to the circus.
I’m going to use the money to buy bread.

Yesterday I got half a pig’s head.
We ate the meat and saved the bones.
Today I put the bones on to boil
and into the broth I put some potatoes.

Night came. The stars are hidden.
The shack is filled with mosquitoes.
I lit a page from a newspaper
and ran it over the walls.

This is the way the favela dwellers kill
mosquitoes. My children are always hungry.

(From Carolina Maria de Jesus’ diary, Mothers’ Day 1958)