March 10, NY

 

Mexican author Jeannette L. Clariond

1

White silence, absent birds.
Treetops blowing in the clouds
wound the landscape’s rhythm.
In the time between arising and disappearance
snow dissolves rock. And the sound of the wind,
unknown voices
that freeze
our fruitless actions.
A sign (a shot) separates us from The Idea.
Slipping toward the void: the desert
senses the tremor.

 

2

Our lives become other lives,
ephemeral sparkle of glass.
The newborn dew
has become a brittle leaf.
Are we history? No, stain,
smoke
of impossible transcendence,
water among oaks. While
we sip the cup of bitter coffee
we linger over, inclining our faces.

 

3

Not history, but rather breath in search
of deepest green branches.
You cried, brilliance lost
and in the dark
with icy eyes
I feared seeing
an empty skiff in a waterless lake.
In your eyes I saw the sea born: ineffable clarity.
You’d traverse
years, tunnels, electrified towers
to find my hands.

 

4

Fear is finding likeness itself.
Interpreting dreams
is our worst nightmare.
Whom do we represent? Which part of the insect
encases the poison?
Every season, like every word,
brings its death
—almost out of reach—
refuge
of scattered violets. And the Logos?
Why should I want a Logos if
what I seek is to house
the light in other light?
There, to nest in darkness.

 

5

Finding the other part of fire,
the needle in the haystack, eye
threading
texture, loose tacking
entering
and leaving with hardly a trace.
Angelina did it in her writing
beneath Saint Michael’s sword—beneath the open sky—
in the grand mansions where lamps shed no light.

 

6

Reflected in the glass, the plum tree,
autumn falling,
gravity and desire, contradiction
of nature
returning to the ur-image:
the spring among the stones,
and the cub, her gentleness there in the meadow,
at the edge of the glade, her eyes
rings of fire; the spittle on the
lioness’s tongue. Existence cannot escape fate.

 

7

Syllables scented with jasmine. I sowed words
in ancient flowerpots.
Roots
attempting to revive—what vacant house?
At five the hollow sacrifice
and over the cockerel, bells;
damp grass, insects on leaves
and the cry of a magpie. Echoes
of God, life. We die
far beneath the sky, fear
drowns us
in the first and only beginning.
Mirror sky, tomb land,
there is no conclusion, no end. Thread
and texture,
the light of fruit, cold, inside me.

 

8

Better to yield to the splendor
of the horizon.
God dreams our lives, no peace for the gods
who invented the word and war.
Fire speaks names. We speak with it
of light, we speak
the silence of light.
The dawn gives birth to the first ray
over the ochre brown
Of the cockerel.
God, I don’t know where you’ve gone.

 

9

Is there no end to a soul’s fear?
No measure for what we feel?
The light intensifies, irrevocably.
The hummingbird feeds on flowers, we
on desire. I peer silently at the sky.
An occasional flight scatters the violet of the landscape
for a sun that may suddenly sink
unaware of its own ascent.

        

10

This light speaks to us of roots
whose brilliance is lost
in the cold heart of water.
I hear and I don’t hear, I enter without entering
the other part of the sea
spreading
towards silence or the chasm of night.
Shadow of the August moon,
bird on the wing,
everything draws nearer. Reality that we
ourselves cannot behold.

March 10, 2003
The US begins bombing Baghdad

Translated by Samantha Schnee

Languages

LALT No. 4
Number 4

The fourth issue of LALT highlights underrepresented but deserving voices from across Latin America, with a focus on women writers as well as special sections dedicated to genre-bending science fiction, indigenous-language poetry and prose, and the essential relationship between author and translator.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Fiction

Short Fiction from Peru

Bogotá39

Translation Previews and New Releases

Poetry

Essays

Latin American Science Fiction

Indigenous Literature

Dossier: Five Women Writers in Translation

Interviews

Dossier: Colombian Poetry

Nota Bene