Three Poems

 

 

Gaia

The streaked blue orb
fixed her coordinates in space
regulated her oven and the spate of waters
conceived live cells starfish
sprouted furry limbs
spines blood vessels
and the eye
sphere like herself
to contemplate herself
her cloak her air her children
with a hunter’s precision
with love

Exact passionate outlines
of buffalo and horse in caves
conjugated killing and loving

Since then the eye
has become clouded
veiled hardened
its surface is brittle now
blackened by many deaths
outside the law

emptied of love
the gift of sight is withdrawn

 

Son of Man

Smoke-grey afternoon
threat of fire under my skin
leaves and oranges wrinkle
dust dims resisting flowers
filters among the brain’s folds

I’m angry start to shout
only the dogs hear me
I refuse it can’t end like this

In my head in my heart
a bright green velvet lining forms
in that grass eggs swell
from each one a little god emerges

One grows in my chest
feeding on my organs
taking strength from my bones
handsome and tall as a tree
he’s the Son of Man

and still he brandishes his sword
and still he promises justice

 

Thanatos’s Wife

Thanatos’s wife
sleeps in her alcove,
the bed is soft and flowery,
her face peeps from a nest
of silk and velvet,
she breathes quietly.

Sometimes her skin is smooth 
and her eyelids tender
like a newborn;
then her lips redden
her hair quivers:
does she hope to be awakened
by the voice of love?

At an unknown hour
finally she opens her eyes
in her brown wrinkled face,
she smiles with entire compassion
at the stunned passer-by
as if saying my embrace
is the promise that accompanies you
up to the limit.

Translated by Colaboratorio Ávila

The translators would like to thank Fiona Mackintosh for accompanying us in this translation, and for helping us get to the bottom of some of the most difficult verses.

 

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Fogwill in LALT
Number 15

In our August 2020 issue, we celebrate the work of women writers and translators in honor of Women in Translation Month, highlighting the work of Victoria de Stefano, Krina Ber, Rowena Hill, and Margara Russotto—four women united by the coincidence of emigrating to Venezuela and becoming renowned writers in Spanish. We also pay homage to a giant of Latin American letters, Rodolfo Enrique Fogwill, on the tenth anniversary of his passing, and we highlight the work of Mé’pháá writer Hubert Matiúwàa in our Indigenous Literature section. This #WITMonth issue is rounded out with exclusive previews of upcoming books from women translators and an interview with translator Annie McDermott, plus poetry, fiction, interviews, and reviews of fascinating new releases from across Latin America.

Cover Photo: Grupo Mondongo

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Fogwill

Four Venezuelan Women Writers

Fiction

Poetry

Essays

Chronicle

Interviews

Indigenous Literature

Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation

Nota Bene