John Dos Passos Coggin

In the panorama of pandemic winter, I passed
nights in the black and blue storm assaulting
the fjord in Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Until
my summer study of Brazilian Portuguese. The
teacher showed me the medicine in a single word,
sung with exuberance, and the mango passionfruit
dreams cultivated by a year of her fortifying song.

Compared to her language samba, I spoke in cow bell,
tuneless as lyrics cribbed from the walls of bar johns.

Beautiful, she assured, when I spoke her language.
She taught like a gardener tending jacaranda trees
amid the trilling of birds and Rio beachgoers.
Trees so well-loved, no frost could kill them.