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Gabriela Ruivo Trindade



Translated by Andrew McDougall



THIS OR THAT



Just now

On the balcony

I heard the next-door neighbour

I don’t know where this is headed

I didn’t understand what he meant

But I remembered my mother

Yesterday

In the kitchen

To my father

This is going from bad to worse

There’s a man on the television

Who is always saying

This is a disgrace!

Like that, with an exclamation mark

So I went to the dictionary

But it was no use

What is a demonstrative pronominal?

I asked my sister

Piss off

Was her reply

I insisted

What is this that everyone is talking about

Which is a disgrace

And going from bad to worse

And no one knows where it’s headed

It must be your tongue, kid

My sister is a bore

Always talking rubbish

I went back to the balcony

Our neighbour was still on the phone

Or perhaps talking to himself

I made a note every time he said the word

This can’t be real

This is unbearable

This is even worse than I thought

This is ridiculous

This is shit

This is too much!

This is awful

This won’t do

This must be seen

To be believed

This is bollocks

This is a fresh hell

This won’t end well

This is shameful

This will never be fixed

This

Never

Crossed

My

Mind

Who expected

Such a thing?

I deleted the last phrase

As it didn’t have the word

This

And then I remembered a book

That my mum was reading

The other day

If this is a man

Maybe that’s what this is

This is a man

Could it also be a woman?

I better ask my grandad

He’s the only one who listens

To my questions

But now we can’t go there

Because of the quarantine

And don’t know what that is either

But I guess it has something to do with

This



 

Gabriela graduated in Psychology and lives in London since 2004. In 2013 her debut novel Uma Outra Voz won the Prémio LeYa (LeYa, 2014, Prémio PEN Primeira Obra 2015). She published the children's book A Vaca Leitora (D. Quixote, 2016) and the poetry collection Aves Migratórias (On y va, 2019). She contributed to a number of poetry and short story anthologies. She manages the online bookshop Miúda Books, dedicated to children's books written in Portuguese. She is the mentor of this project, together with Nuno Gomes Garcia.


Andrew was born in Glasgow and studied Portuguese and English literature at the University of Edinburgh. He has also lived in Sussex, Lisbon, Coimbra, Logroño, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Norwich, where he completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia. His work has included co-translating a book by José Eduardo Agualusa. He translates from Portuguese and Spanish.

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