Two Poems


Mapuche-Williche poet Graciela Huinao. Photo: Academia Chilena de la Lengua.


Amulelafin tañi laku, Adolfo Huinao

Tañi williche laku ge mew 
kentxayküley llükan. 
Lalu wüla chogümnagümi feychi llükan aychüf. 
Chemkün pepi 
chogümnolu tami konümpawe mew, 
lafken tañi pu wapi afünka 
nüwkülelu ñi age mew. 
Laku kollatunoaeyew 
konümpalan chi txoy antü. 
Kanzu müten penefin 
gülamekel ka txapümekel 
ñi pu müpü lelfün püle. 
Tañi püchü tuwülün txekan, laku 
chew llegün tami pu nemül. 
Füchalewewyekelu ta eymi 
witxampüramen mapu mew 
fey tami wün mew llegüy ta lan 
anümüwpulu tami ina lafken mew. 
Tami chaw ka tami peñi 
kawenigü az kutxankawün püle petu tañi ñuke ka iñche tañi laku 
zipufigü chi inafül güñun. 
Gelay kemzulla mawüzantü mew ga, 
ñüküf nagümmageymi tami nemül. 
Welu iñche tañi llükalechi püchü mogen 
famtukuluwpuy tañi pu txipantüñi chelkon mew. 
Mafülüfin tami pu ge ñi weñag 
fey txaftu azkintufiyu lelfün: 
kiñe wapi tañi pu kanzu egü 
tañi laku ñi ge mew mülewey 
inan leliwülün mew. 
Laku, fachantü kimtun 
chumkawnorume williche gekelaymi; 
tami chono küpankam kawaskar 
püralay tagi mew 
feychi antü weñeymagepalu tami mapu ka tami folil. 
Tüfa wüla ke kimtukufin 
tami pu ge ñi weñag. 
Tami rüpalwe kentxaykülelu 
chi Pacífico Sur ñi 
fütxa eltun mew. 


The Geese Say Goodbye

To my grandfather, Adolfo Huinao

In my Williche grandfather’s eyes
fear set sail.
Death alone 
erased that timid gleam. 
But nature could never
erase from my memory
the colors of the archipelago
arrested in his face.
I must be true to you, grandfather:
I don’t remember the exact day.
I only see the geese
as they open and close
their wings over the fields.
With my baby steps, grandfather
I couldn’t understand
the origins of your words.
Old as you were
you lifted me in your arms
and from your mouth death sprouted
pulling its boat to your beach.
Your father and brother
rowed off to the sacrifice
while you and your mother
at last reached hunger’s shore.
So hushed were your words
the mountains held no echo.
But like the frightened child I was
I curled into your years and found refuge.
I held on tight to your pain
and together we gazed at the field:
an island teeming with geese
is what I glimpsed 
looking through your eyes.
Grandfather, I know now
you were never truly Williche.
On the day they stole your land
and your roots
your Chono or Kaweskar origins
never made it on board.
Now I understand
the pain in your eyes
your origins sailing
the deep graveyard
of the southern Pacific Ocean.

- Williche: In the Mapudungun language, “southern people.” The group of Mapuche people who live in the southern Mapuche lands.
- Chono, Kaweskar: Indigenous maritime peoples whose traditional islands were south of the Williche. Kaweskar people remain in small numbers. It is considered that no living Chono people remain.


Lamngenwenngei chi mongen ka chi la
Wiñokintulu iñche
pepi pen chi rüpu
ka pen ñi pünon ñi elnien.
Ñi inaltu meu kuifike aliwen witrapürai
kiñeke küruz fure anümka meu.
Welu küme llaufeñ niei
ñi tukukunwe ruka meu.
Üye meu kim pepika mapun
tunten fün ñi tukuam chi wengam meu
fei ta ñi küme dapiafiel meu.
Ta mi mongen
- pieneu - kiñechi ñi chau
tukulel-eneu kiñe runa mapu ñi küwü meu.
Rume kurüntufiñ ka yüfküeneu.
Ñi pichi pülai küwü müllmülli.
Llükakilnge - pieneu -
fanenoam ta mi pu tripantu.
Ñi chau ñi küwü umpulli ñi küwü
ka chi pu pichike mongenche
nengümwetulaingün ñi küwü meu.
Chi llükan chüngareneu wechun waiki reke.
Kiñe pichintu meu müten
ka kom dungun mülewepürai
Pengelel-aeteo chi llükan
chi la ta iñ kom yenien.
Ngeno küdau kimelkefui ta ñi chau
ñi kuifike rüf kimün.
Lamngenwenkunual chi mongen ka chi la
ñi rangiñ küwü meu
ñi llükanoam konli chi rüpü meu
ñi pu kuifikeche ñi mapu püle.
Nülayu ta yu changüll küwü
ka kiñe pimun meu akutui chi mongen
ñi pichi mapuntu pülai küwü meu.


Life and Death Become One

When I look back
I can see the road
and the footprints I leave behind.
On both sides ancient trees rise up
interspersed with bitter plants.
But their shadows are the same height
from my garden.
That’s where I learned to prepare the land
to carefully space the seeds
so the young plants can be hilled.
“This is your life”
my father told me once
placing a fistful of earth in my hand.
It was so black, so full of grit.
My little palm trembled.
“Don’t be afraid,” he told me
“so the years won’t weigh you down.”
He closed his hand over mine
and the tiny inhabitants
stopped moving against my palm.
Fear shot through me like a spear.
One wordless moment
was all it took
to show me the terror of death
we each hold within us.
My father taught me simply
with his wise nature
how life and death become one
within my closed hand
so I would not fear the road when it leads me
toward the land of my ancestors.
Our fingers uncurled
and with one breath life returned 
to the tiny universe in the palm of my hand.


Translated from Spanish to Mapudungun by Clara Antinao
Translated from Spanish to English by Wendy Burk


LALT No. 3
Number 3

The third issue of LALT features the debut of our permanent section devoted to Indigenous Literature with writing in languages from Mapudungun to Tzotzil, as well as remarkable short stories from Cristina Rivera Garza and Yoss, the rising star of Cuban science fiction.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Translation Previews and New Releases



Featured Author: Cristina Rivera Garza

Dossier: Yoss

Indigenous Literature




Dossier: Eight Chilean Poets

Nota Bene