Two Days for Lázaro
The other day at the Court House he barked
as the flames blistered his snout.
Sniffed the ones lined up and transferred
to the blind house on the corner,
where he’d often wag his tail
in military marches.
It’s Friday, old Lázaro the street dog
goes into a restaurant and is arrested,
a criminal record was the last thing he’d want
it would prove even more he was a man.
Now they all keep an eye on him, point him out,
issue warnings, possible convictions
he feels for his tail
and his two paws left behind like fingerprints.
cries, needs a hug.
Cries, signs, looks for a handkerchief,
signs, cries, asks for a kiss.
The man at his side
growls like he did before.
Lázaro just cries and signs.
The little dog with smoke in her eyes
rummages on the other side of the bars.
Outside they read off the lists, Lázaro isn’t there.
Translated by Olivia Lott
Mery Yolanda Sánchez (Guamo, Tolima, Colombia, 1956) has published the verse collections La ciudad que me habita (1989), Ritual para las noches (1997), and Dios sobra, estorba, as well as the anthologies Un día maíz (2010) and Rostro de tierra (2011). Her poems, short stories, literary commentary, and book reviews have been included in a wide range of anthologies and literary journals in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and Mexico. In both 1987 and 1994, she received honorable mentions in the Centro de Estudios Alejo Carpentier’s contest for unpublished short stories. In 1998, she won the National Grant from the Ministry of Culture for her project “Poesía en Escena.” In 2014, her text “El atajo” earned the Second National Prize for Short Novels from the Universidad Javeriana; it was later published in 2015.
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.