Archeology of a Poor Man

Charles Sims, I Am the Abyss and I am Light, 1928.
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By PRISCILA FIGUEIREDO*

Archeology of a Poor Man

Analyzing the remains of Context 958,
once a man, perhaps worthy, perhaps unworthy,
The researchers reached the following conclusions:
he would have lived more than 40 years—a good time for the time! —
and had serious dental problems,
iron-marked muscle structure,
which suggests, now as before, a hard life,
a job, if not shit, almost.

Its skeleton tells us that it was a
survivor,
because, today as in the past, in this type of
small and medium lesions, clear indication
of pain and disaster.
However, as is still common to see today,
not without confusion in our cabin, the same one
continued wear and tear will not lead straight to death—
if that were the case, naturally the subject would already
would not be called survivor
(in any case, remember: survivors
also die, sometimes early).

Scientists even read in hard bone —
hieroglyph, finally opened black box of his life —
that meat and fish were always on his table.
As today, as in the 13th century, this is not
prevalent among the poor.
How then to explain that a buried man
under a hospital for beggars
had eaten all of it?
It can only be that he worked — with this —,
sold or carried—all of it—and a little
almost by inertia landed on his jaw.

Everyone in the future will also see,
in your assimilated skeleton, the bag of bones
that you ran to get on Tuesday,
the xepa on Wednesday and Friday;
will know about the piece of red meat
that religiously you pilfered
carrying someone else's food.

*Priscila Figueiredo is a professor of Brazilian literature at USP. Author, among other books, of Matthew (poems) (well i saw you).


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