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by Adriana Oniță

"Noi suntem noi," Mixed media and digital collage, 2022, by Adriana Oniţă
"Noi suntem noi," Mixed media and digital collage, 2022, by Adriana Oniţă

I carry you, Rafael, like I carry drafts
of poezii in română și spaniolă,
like I carry grief, dor, rugăciuni.

You’ve carried me across
livezi de vișini, lilac groves, grotte,
fields of eu to become noi.

For you, I doesn’t exist.
Noi suntem noi, we are new
to this surrender. We enter
the ravine alone, împreună.
We gather bouquets of creeping bellflower,
yellow toadflax, tufted vetch.

Even when I thought I was I,
ai fost cu mine. Ai fost cuminte.
Cu minte, with my mind, like when
we painted those crooked trees, and
sang while biking to Torre Sibiliana.
You were a pomegranate seed.

Să fii cuminte. First time you go
into a ravine alone, don’t even
tell me. Trust our hemispheres—
the way out of the lilac grove
is through livada de vișini.




When Romanian parents urge their kids to be “cuminte,” this can mean: be good, be quiet, be kind, be careful, be polite, be smart, or be obedient. I wrote this poem for my newborn son, Rafael Mihai, returning to the original root of the word (cu + minte) to remind him of how we will always be connected with our minds.

Appeared in Issue Spring '23

Adriana Oniță

Nationality: Romanian, Canadian

First Language(s): Romanian
Second Language(s): English, Spanish, French, Italian

More about this writer

Piece Patron

U.S. Embassy Vienna

Listen to Adriana Oniță reading "Cuminte".

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Supported by:

Land Steiermark: Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen
U.S. Embassy Vienna
Stadt Graz