No, they are bodies.
No, they are dead forms of memory.
No, they are tired forms of memory.
No, they are poems.
No, they are tombstones with familiar names.
No, they are voices.
No, they are words being laid to rest.
No, they are symbols.
No, they are vessels where images are broken.
No, they are stones.
No, they are the remains of your house.
Marking Out the Ruins
Here is the space of memory
here is the game of epitaphs
names raining down on a spacious cemetery
homeland: scene of death
homeland: open field for scars
The homeland is nothing
it is memory
dust and dread
powder on the skin
a ghost costume
that breaks through walls
and makes the whole house cough
(repeating something mute)
(addressing a skull)
(the name of a dog and a fake rose)
(a mantra to dissolve stains on the wall)
Translated by Colaborativo Ávila
Zakarías Zafra (Venezuela, 1987) is a writer and independent editor. He is the author of Maquinaria íntima, Al otro lado de la vía oscura, and Blanda intuición de párpados, among other books of poetry and short fiction. His writing has been published in Letras Libres, Papel Literario, Harper’s Bazaar, Cultura Colectiva and Clímax, and included in magazines including Letralia, Estampas, and Verbigracia (cultural supplement of El Universal). He is one of the 34 young writers featured in the book Nuevo país literario, published by the Fondo Editorial Banesco (2016). He has also written columns for the newspapers El Impulso, El Nacional, and Tal Cual, and he is currently researching the Venezuelan diaspora and migration. He lives in Mexico City, and his unpublished literary work includes short stories, essays, and novels.
Colaboratorio Ávila is a translation collective formed by Katie Brown, Claudia Cavallín, María Gracia Pardo, and Raquel Rivas Rojas. Their objective is to let the Venezuelan accent and the Latin American viewpoint into every text, to add when there is no need to take away, to build without betrayal, to accept sudden revelations, and to celebrate the results with laughs that cross oceans.
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.