Four Poems


Tseltal writer Adriana López.


X-Ajaw te yakubteson sok te st’ujbilale.
Ja’ la smukbon jsit k’alal alalonto-a
K’alal te jme’e yot’anax swayteson
Yu’un jich ya xiwtes bael-a ta sk’ajk’al sitile. 

Sok te sch’ababet ta sbajtel k’inal 
Ya smakbon te k’aal jich bit’il pixil
Ja’nix jich ya me speton ta sikil k’inal.

Ta jujun rominko ya smukbon jmul
K’alal jpok sok sk’op kajualtik te binti jkujch’in
Yu’un jich ma jmajuley jba sok te snujk’ulel woklajel.

Ya jst’ikbeytik smul te sbiile 
Melel ja’ yak’ x-a’anon sok te jwayichiletike,
Banti xpaxaj te sna’jibal ku’une.

Te ya sts’ujetsbon yalal kijk’atse 
K’alal yakalon bael ta sleel te banti ya xk’otone.



She is a goddess drunk on beauty.
She hides the newborn’s face 
while its mother lulls it to sleep, 
warding off the evil eye. 

Desiring eternal silence, 
she shades my head from the sun
and embraces me warmly on my coldest days. 

She covers my sins on Sundays, 
as I cleanse my guilt with Our Father’s
to save myself from torment’s eternal whip. 

Her name is a pretext
that curls up next to me to chat with my dreams
and wandering memories.

She’s the same one, 
who lightens my load, knotted to my chest,
while I walk toward my destiny. 


Ya’lel Puyetik

Aka xch’oj lok’el bayal puyetik te nab
yu’un yich’ bonel bats’il nopjibbaletik
sok sbonojibal te smon k’eluyeletik.
Aka spas yach’il namal wayichiletik sok te stujb buts’an yik’,
k’unk’unuk xch’albey sk’op uma’ pak’etik
nichimetik te yak’bey sbujts’ kuxlejal ta sikil kinal.


Sea Snail Dye

Let the purple sea gather in foaming clouds
to dye mythic memories
with its eye-seducing tint. 
Let its perfumed saliva invent fantasies,
unhurriedly adorn the language of mute cloth 
with flowers that weather life in winter. 


Sniuyel Wayichiletik

Ta sonil animajel sk’ab 
sniuy na’jibal te ants
swenta kuxlejalil te ch’ayemix ta ot’anil.
Ta jujun sutetel sjojk’an sba k’ayojetik
snitbey yak’ul kuxlejalil,
jich yakal ta sniuyel wayichiletik 
te sk’ejbey slok’onbail sujt’esel.


Spinning Dreams

To the rhythm of her fast hands
the spinner spins memories 
of forgotten histories. 
With every turn she hangs songs,
fastening the strings of existence; 
that’s how she spins dreams
that bear the marks of return. 


Jalbil Pak

Leknax wayichinon.
Ja’ jich sok spisil te boniletike
x-ach’ub ta jk’ab te balumilale,
oranax la stak’ jal te batsil pak’
ta yolil snaul xch’ajlel te bayal sok sba
te yotik into ya spasbey slok’onbail jbiil
te ya sjeluley sba ta jujun k’aal.

Sok cholochol sna’jibal ot’anil
la jch’al te kuxlejalil ta sjalbil u,
la jsts’isbey te chaoxchajp sbonil wayichil
jich wojt’ te jalbil pak’ ta yolilal sbik’tal jk’ab.

Ay me ya xtuun ta k’in,
ay me sk’u’in te abatetik sok jalame’tiketik,
sok ay me te ya xtuun ta rominko k’alal xbootik ta ch’iwich.

Ch’ul pak’, 
Yot’an jal pak’
Snujk’ulel nopjibal te xkuxin ta sbajtel k’inal.



It was a dream. 
And so with all its colors
I renewed the world in my hands,
weaving spinning wonders
among stubborn motifs
that now outline my name
apart from my everyday name. 

With the lines of memories
I painted life on the moon’s loom,
I embroidered the colors of dreams
and my huipil flowered between my fingers. 

There are huipils for festivals, 
for virgins, for saints,
and for the Sunday market. 

Ritual clothing,
artisan’s heart,
the immortal skin of memory. 

Translated by Paul M. Worley


Number 8

The eighth issue of Latin American Literature pays homage to Nicaraguan writer and politician Sergio Ramírez, winner of the 2017 Cervantes Prize and an important voice in a country currently gripped by crisis. We also feature poetry from Octavio Armand, as well as special sections dedicated to four indigenous writers of Mexico and Guatemala, bilingual sci-fi from Worldcon 76, and the poetry of Marosa di Giorgio, Olga Orozco, and Elena Garro. 

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Sergio Ramírez

Dossier: Octavio Armand


Latin American Science Fiction

Indigenous Literature




Translation Previews and New Releases

Nota Bene