and the origami on his shirt
the watch guiding his hand
to pick up toys from the asphalt
and canaries from the balcony
to pick up the shoulders of the men
who brought the mornings
to the neighborhood, who brought greetings and stories
like warm bread
for Mr. Quintana:
they all fell
by the kiosk on the corner.
They bored him to death, my father said.
The angels of the city
have gone off with no peace
and I wasn’t there
to say goodbye
to be outraged with no way out
or to say good morning the morning before the last one, not knowing,
so as not to know, by his side,
nor to scream with pure fright
I wasn’t even there for that
on the corner.
Today you haven’t been to the sea.
You’ve lived seventy years of earth
to offer the rough crack of your fingertips
and that guilt.
Today, as always, fisherman,
you have sat with your back to the dock to feel
the net pass over your brothers,
those chosen to die with the word
hanging from their lips, the sea moving the algae
until they are consumed by the salt.
You accept the corroded white of your bread
as the fair price you must pay for dragging
fish from the cement for your daughters,
and the woman at your side
who, turning her eyes to the chapel,
understands the error:
the remains of tulle on the altar
but there was no tulle for the eyes
there was no tulle for the steps,
what has been stone in spite of the sun
that you bear unshaken on your forehead.
You only wonder why they have forgotten you
since you had written in your crude language
a firm step on the sand.
A firm step.
And so what will remain of you,
if we’ve forgotten even Jesus,
and if the seas are erased from the Earth to become
gray sand that neither falls
Today I want to memorize your sun like a splintered cross
on my forehead, I want to believe in the forgotten language of your people
and in the movement of your hands that you tirelessly repeated to survive
on the scorched concrete;
to thank the eyes that have remained on the salty residue,
awake before the fall of the skin,
to dig up the sandy hide of my head,
to dig up even the stone,
to return with wet moss
under my fingernails.
for Angelo Domenico
Translated by Arthur Dixon
Ania Varez (Caracas, 1991) is an artist and poet residing in Bristol, United Kingdom. She earned her degree in Arts from the London Contemporary Dance School (2015). Her work has been displayed at the Robert Howard Theatre (London), the Galería Nacional de Arte (Caracas), the Bolívar Hall of the Embassy of Venezuela (London), and recently as part of her participation in the artistic residence Tree Tree Tree Person II in Taiwan. Her first verse collection, No es la línea ni el segundo [It’s neither the line nor the second], was published in 2012.
Arthur Dixon works as a translator and as Managing Editor of Latin American Literature Today. His translation of Andrés Felipe Solano’s “The Nameless Saints” (WLT, Sept. 2014) was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize, and his most recent project is a book-length translation of Arturo Gutiérrez Plaza’s Cuidados intensivos (see WLT, Sept. 2016).
LALT No. 6 goes from the gripping true stories of literary journalism to the strange worlds of fantastic short stories and graphic literature. We highlight chronicles by Colombian journalist Alberto Salcedo Ramos, speculative fiction in a dossier curated by Mexican writer Alberto Chimal, and Yucatec Maya poetry and prose in our ongoing Indigenous Literature series.