Latin American Writers

a window on their lives and work

Anacristina Rossi: To my daughter Andrea





In Norwich


It was time for farewell

in Norwich

after nineteen years and a half of consuming attention.


Time was up

after intricate loving

after seamless devotion of the kind that breeds hatred and shortness of breath.


Time was up.

She glanced at me

her translucent eyes had changed from hazel to sea green and were brimming with salt water;

what had been left unsaid, untold, unkissed, unloved, unexplained, untamed

would now remain so

and this knowledge soothed and burdened us.


I hugged her with restraint

holding back the sly maternal animals of affection and grief

so as not to damage

her new lease of freedom

her difference and the beauty of which I was so proud.


She looked at us with deserved or undeserved gratitude

thanked her stepfather for his generosity

for the touch of his fingers, soft as Belgian mussels,

for his care.


She kissed her little sister and oozed love like sap.


And then she pleaded with me to lock up in the basement the years in which we were for each other the morning star and the evening star.

They haunted her, they were too visible and too many and she would not travel far with excess luggage.


Time was up.

We turned our backs

swallowing our tears like lumps of old cold noodles

and headed for the North sea

while she stayed behind in Norwich

where the roads of her past and the roads of her present and perhaps the roads of her future had just collided.


I looked through the rear window of the car and waved

but she did not see us

her gaze already caught by the unsettling English web of drab and splendor.


I saw her start to walk

wobbling under the weight of her youth and the weight of her talent and the weight of her womanhood

and the staggering weight of her ambition

heavier for being ignored.


I saw her stare

at the grey swans of Pull’s Ferry

wondering if they were grey because they were just young or because they belonged to an uncharted species

like her.


She was cold

drew her jacket round her shoulders and measured her medieval settings

this Norwich

first stop on her journey without me.


She strolled along:




sweet and dark like treacle

Sharp as knives.


Now she was but a dot on the Norfolk horizon.

And then the cumbersome threads that had bound us together were stretched to the limit

and snapped.




Author’s note

I see poetry writing as a huge wave that comes unexpectedly, goes through your body and mind and churns a strong feeling in words, leaving you breathless.

As a writer I often use poetical prose. These are a series of small waves going through you while you are building the narrative of a novel. And you feel thankful for these small waves that get the narrative going to uncharted places of language you never thought you would visit.

Both kinds of waves come from emotions.

The only time I was visited by a large wave of poetic emotion was when my eldest daughter left home for college. We were living in the Netherlands then, and since I never learned Dutch but grew up speaking English as well as Spanish, my mind functioned in English. We drove her to England accross the channel and when she stayed behind, the huge wave hit me, leaving me with a poem. In English.

Small waves do visit me now and then, when I’m writing a novel. But the big wave of poetry never visited again. Perhaps because the emotion this parting with my daughter elicited in me was the deepest, the strongest I have never felt.

(c) 2015 Anacristina Rossi All Rights Reserved

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