A View from the Monster’s Perch

They gather here,

in the afternoon with a packed sandwich

and a bottle of still water, still cold

from the freezer;

and at night, they carry their bottles of beer,

plastic cups of caipirinhas

or cuba libres

 

And they talk,

gesticulating every word

and the vibrations are carried across

over the Tagus River

towards the bridge

named after a date

and under the watchful eyes

of a sea monster cast in stone.

 

They gather here:

inhabitants and tourists,

passers-by and people who stay

and they talk about themselves

underneath a monster

who is known for impeding

the journey of sailors

past the Cape of Good Hope.

 

There’s history here and a view

and a toilet nearby

and a monster

and other people, just like you,

with a story to tell,

punching and cutting the air in two

in synch with the movements of the story

and it’s all about journeys, every story,

because that’s what the monster

reminds us, and that’s what bridges are for

and there’s where rivers takes us

and that’s what we talk about

when we’re drinking

in this place.

 

The miraduoro of Sta. Catarina

is not just another tourist spot —

it is an intersection

of stories, of journeys, of reminders

and it never stops

and it will always be there.

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