Three Poems Written in English


Cat with stairs. Photo: Maria Teneva, Unsplash.

Conditional Identity

                                  (to the Shegood)

If you were cat
I would be a mouse
If you were arrow
I would be a pigeon
If you were knife
I would be a wounded body

but I am not a mouse
I am not a pigeon
nor a body

I am only an object without substance
I am a weightless thing
I am an amount without quantity

I’m a blanco spiritual
I’m a black point, mute
in the noisy house                              
of nuts and poets                               
a devil in paradise                              
an angel with broken wings                
laughing in Dante’s hell                                  
without Virgil
without Comedy

out of place
out of work
out of order
like a gossip with her tongue cut off
in the middle of the words.

Mute, forever mute                            
but aloud.


Bad Bird

The difference
between a good bird
and a bad bird
are the wings.

It doesn’t matter
if they are broken
or if they are blue or brown
yellow or red
or whatever color.
It doesn’t matter
if they are long or short
if the feathers are
strong or weak
if  they resist
storms, rains or hurricanes.

The important thing
about wings
is the invisible part
in the bird brain
beside to the little thoughts
of the bird.
This part, like a metonymy
is the core of the trouble:
a bad bird has invisible wings
supporting the evil of the power
a good one has invisible wings
fanning the air with freedom
without damage, without
nightmares, just dreams.

A bad bird is also recognized
by his round eyes
like little balls of shit
seeing nothing nobody

The bad bird’s eyes
contaminate all what
they look.


An apple a day

Noisy and silent at the same time
as if it were something alive
as if it were
inside an eight-month-pregnant woman
the idea, like a worm
eats and defecates
sleeps and wakes up
grows and turns
more and more
like a transparent
heavy toxic
creature moving itself
in the apple of the head.

As a worm, yes
inside the apple.

The brilliant, clever face

The smile has a bitter touch.


Ida Vitale in LALT
Number 12

In our twelfth issue, we pay homage to two giants of Latin American letters: Ida Vitale of Uruguay, winner of the 2018 Miguel de Cervantes Prize, and Julio Ramón Ribeyro of Peru, whose work we celebrate on the ninetieth anniversary of his birth. We also feature poetry, interviews, and stories that range from the Caribbean to the Andes and from Central American to Brazil, exclusive book previews and reflections from translators, and a special section dedicated to the work of Edwin Lucero Rinza, a young poet who recently published the first ever verse collection in Kañaris Quechua.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Ida Vitale

Dossier: Julio Ramón Ribeyro





Brazilian Literature


Indigenous Literature

On Translation: Seeking Publisher

Translation Previews and New Releases

Nota Bene