A Poem

 

 
 
Editor’s Note: Click here to read an essay by Fabio Morábito that builds on the poem below.

 

Given that I write in a language
I learned,
I need to awaken
when others sleep.
I write like someone who gathers water
from the walls, 
I’m inspired by the first sun
on the walls.
I wake before everyone else,
but up high.
I write before dawn,
when I am almost the only one awake
and I can make mistakes
in a language I learned.
Line after line
I search for the prose of this tongue
that is not mine.
I don’t look for its poetry,
but instead to come down from the high floor
on which I wake up.
Line after line I strive,
while the others sleep,
to get a head start on the day’s lesson.
I listen to the noise of the pump
that brings the water to the cisterns
and while the water is rising
and the building grows damp,
I disconnect the other language
that in my sleep
entered into my dreams,
and as the water rises,
I descend line by line like one who
gathers language from the walls
and I reach so low down sometimes,
so lovely,
that I can allow myself,
as a luxury,
some memento.

Translated by Lawrence Schimel

 

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LALT No. 14
Number 14

The fourteenth issue of Latin American Literature Today features dossiers dedicated to the dislocated writing of Latin American authors based in the United States and the gothic fiction of Mariana Enriquez, plus reflections on writing in a second language by Fabio Morábito, an interview with 2019 Alfaguara Prize winner Patricio Pron, and exclusive translation previews from Guadalupe Nettel, Gabriela Wiener, and Luis Alejandro Ordóñez.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Mariana Enriquez

Dislocating Writing: Latin America Rewrites Estados Unidos

Poetry

Fiction

Essays

Interviews

Brazilian Literature

Indigenous Literature

Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation

Nota Bene