Woman Overboard - Margarida Vale de Gato

MAYDAY I break out: the hard war endures;

empty is the vessel from which I part –

it slacks in the deep, bored by the sway,

a leaking slit, a lack – not in the least

a cork pail with pores made to drift.

I specify: it's terracotta, it cracks

and I am sparse in dense fluidity.


Too late, I know, help will come, if ever

so feebly I flash in obscurity

and the writing does not stay on water;

here I lie: hardly an erasure, less

than a seam the wave will slowly stitch

a slumbering quilt over where I sink.


“Woman Overboard” by Margarida Vale de Gato ("Mulher ao Mar", Mariposa Azual, Lisbon, 2010), translated from the Portuguese by the author herself (originally available here, together with other poems by Portuguese authors translated to English).



As part of the celebrations of the 10 years of the BUALA platform and having freedom as an eternal ambition and activation, “and I am sparse in dense fluidity” – Gestures of Freedom, the BUALA cycle at maat proposes to think of freedom in the actual times, contributing for a portrait of Portugal in its structures and inequalities, with the help of paths of intelligence, courage, emancipation, and the fight for happiness.



Woman Overboard

by Margarida Vale de Gato