Tropical Sacrifice

Lucas de Lima

Tropical Sacrifice is a wishbone against a fascist heart/a prophetic, dream-filled narrative based on the spiritual journey of a chicken. Used for sacrificial ritual in Afro-Brazilian religion, the chicken becomes a re-enchantment of the poet's ancestry. Her superior vision gives access to histories of genocide and ecocide, opening a portal to Indigenous, Afro-diasporic, queer and nonhuman worlds. From the favela to the Amazon to the astral plane, it is the half-winged bird who escapes the factory farm, inviting voices to bleed out of the sky.

What People Are Saying

Dawn Lundy Martin

When reading Lucas de Lima, I cannot help but think of Nathaniel Mackey’s interest in the Kaluli myth of the boy who, in lament, turns into a muni bird and half cries half sings a song mourning the annihilation of kinship. De Lima’s poetry vibrates a necessary dark song of cultural reclamation that presupposes its legitimacy, its rights as having come first. Because I am only excited by poems that have duende, I am tremendously excited by this work—duende in the black sounds that pierce through so much performative violence, so much nothingness.

Hoa Nguyen, author of A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure

An activation, a site of fury, a grief that imagines a horizon of healing, Lucas de Lima’s Tropical Sacrifice measures the sky and flies as it sees into pasts and futures. Attuned to colonization, ecological destruction, and the continuities of violence in the machinations of global empire, this oneiric, necessarily disturbing, multi-voiced story-saga grieves as it redresses “until we become again the fractured wave / the world never wanted.” Visionary, defiant, dazzling.

Joey De Jesus

Lucas de Lima’s Tropical Sacrifice is an anti-fascist oneiromantic narrative conjuring against ge(n)ocidal practices of settler colonialism, namely murder, displacement, and the erasure of Indigenous languages, syncretism, and otherwise forgotten other(ed) wisdoms. The book opens with acknowledgement and implication of a self who emerges in the schism--the break--of the chiasm, “I am a colonized & / colonizing animal.” Here, de Lima recognizes chicken metamorphosis as a tradition of foremothers pitted against the Human as an exclusionary category. de Lima unsettles in their intimate treatment of revolutionary, queer historical figures targeted by the Brazilian and US states and by modeling careful practices of, if not citation, celebration. This book is divinatory and one after my own heart in its mystic eagerness to live-constellate a decolonized sky. de Lima writes, “everything is sad / for jchrist everything we say / streaks atmosphere / with wire,” witnessing the partitioning of the “crumbly sky" above in apocalypse, watching it “for breaking glass,” “for shattering.” Tropical Sacrifice is a triumph in celebration of Black Indigenous life, queer intimacy, and abolitionist fervor—it’s gorgeous, gets gross, recalls ulterior gnoses that peck against the heart-ear, against the glass “inside the national museum” where “a skull older than any … speaks to us engulfed in flames.” A marvel.

John Keene

A spell and invocation, anti-prayer and rant, cri-de-coeur and rallying cry, Lucas de Lima’s Tropical Sacrifice is a queer poetic event of continuous lyric & narrative transformation. This mind-bending, scale-shifting, post-post-colonial break-up and love poem encompasses Brazil and the global South, Indigenous and African spiritual traditions, and the contemporary social, political and cultural spheres as it engages the vital questions it poses. Tropical Sacrifice is not only a tour de force, it’s epic magnificence!

Inside the Book

Perfect Bound
6" x 9"
Publication Date:
Winter 2022

From the Book


Click here to read six poems from Tropical Sacrifice in PEN America.

Click here to read an excerpt from Tropical Sacrifice in Apogee Journal.

Click here to read an excerpt from Tropical Sacrifice in Aster(ix) Journal.