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Hirondina Joshua


Translated by George Newton


armour broken open in the first of the final century. organ cemented ruby-red. as in the beginning: pain was the lower part. they devised a term for covering up holes: they called it heart. then came time and its deceptive nature. first it blew on women’s faces: it made of them unpracticable things. and then in men’s left eye: it made them secret. it went to children and created eternity within.

“The heart bends” said X. we need an organ that is sound. attentive to the frenzies of vision.


they looked at one another: the only ones made for luck. they walked straight without knowing where the ears had hidden themselves. their winged feet suffered the haste of the gust coming from the rocks. – what’s the use of fingers? the world is a centred mirror, it obscures hands.

(a voice says):

you go through the transfigured door, volcanic force. lungs in the acute gleam of death.

you go into the dexterity of things with the glands visible: deafening invasion.

motionless. you enter the flesh of reason with the light off.

you know and you know that the light turned off is the strongest lit. through the eyelid you enter the inside of the whirlwind or the hermetic wound.


it was on that day when the sky fell to receive the poem of the dictatorship. the voices of people dawned, whoever could sing sang. they continue their search for the organ. – do whatever you want, I gave you freedom.

the blind inundated the entrails. the deaf went mad.

mystery roams around inside the primary organ. the organ’s bones can be seen in the firmament.


the world makes noise as it searches for the animal. he who rises and descends in the heights suggested by the great storms. god sees the raw faces of emotions, forgives and continues… the animal groans with hunger. at the nape of its neck is violent water. thirst that is older than the body with all distances of the earth. this universal animal that is found concentrated in insomnia, drags outside the circular season of puddles. it traps darkness and light in the same bag. a beautiful gleam is what’s made above the secret chants.


a photograph led by a child, - they say it is the only one who can see the animal.

“it was a rose-coloured tree with thin tall slanted branches, on each branch there was a closed book at the top and on the smaller ones open books. they made it hard for the thorax, they brought bees in the shallow flowers. as the tree had eyes, the weight was unbearable under the eyelids. this is why membranes lined with lightness appeared, like sponges. like balls of cotton wool”.


Hirondina was born in Maputo, Mozambique, and is a member of the Mozambican Writers Association (AEMO). She wrote Os Ângulos da Casa (prefaced by Mia Couto), published by Fundação Fernando Leite Couto in 2016. She has contributed to a number of magazines, newspapers, blogs, anthologies, festivals, national and international seminars. Co-editor of the Portuguese magazine inComunidade, she also contributes to the platform Mbenga in Mozambique. She's a columnist for the Galician magazine Palavra Comum.

George studies Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Oxford. Translating for French family on their visits to the UK, George quickly became interested in translation and the nuances and power of language and its social role. Since then, George has learned several languages and engaged in the study of literature and linguistics at university.

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