After writing on paper the word coyote
You must watch out that the meat-craving word
Does not take over the page,
Does not manage to hide
Behind the word jacaranda
To wait for the word hare to pass by
And then tear it apart.
In order to prevent it,
To sound the alarm
When the coyote stealthily
Prepares its ambush,
Some old masters
Who know the spells of language
Recommend tracing the word match
Rubbing it against the word stone
And lighting up the word fire
To scare it away.
There is no coyote or jackal, no hyena or jaguar,
No puma or wolf thar won't flee
When fire converses with air.
Translated by Laura Chalar
Juan Manuel Roca (Medellín, Colombia, 1946) is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist. He served for ten years as coordinator and then director of the "Magazín Dominical" of the newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá. For twenty-five years (1986-2011) he was director of the Casa Silva poetry workshop. He has received numerous awards for his work, both in Colombia and internationally. His verse collections include Lunca de ciegos, Los ladrones nocturnos, País secreto, Ciudadano de la noche, La farmacia del ángel, Las hipótesis de nadie, Testamentos, Biblia de pobres, Temporada de estatuas, Pasaporte del apátrida, and No es prudente recibir caballos de madera de parte de un griego. In 2016, he published his complete poetry, with the title Silabario del camino. He currenclty directs the poetry specialization of the Master's program in Creative Writing at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
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.