Neighbourhood

by Adélia Prado

The young man has finished his lunch
and is picking his teeth behind his hand.
The bird scratches in the cage, showering
him with canary seed and bird droppings.
I consider picking one’s teeth unsightly;
he only went to primary school
and his bad grammar grates on me.
But he’s got a man’s rump so seductive
I fall desperately in love with him.
Young men like him
like to wolf their food:
beef and rice, a slice of tomato
and off to the movies
with that face of invincible weakness
for capital sins.
I feel so intimate, simple,
so touchable – because of love,
a slow samba,
because of the fact that we’re going to die
and a refrigerator is a wonderful thing,
and the crucifix his mother gave him,
its gold chain against that frail chest – 
that …
He scrapes at his teeth with the toothpick,
he scrapes at my strumpet heart.