A bucolic poem
The river dried up because it doesn’t rain.
The road that connects the countryside
to the city was turned to pieces
under the heavy showers
back when it did rain.
They closed the only grade school in town
on account of no more children,
say the elders of the land
shriveled as they are like when you enter a river
and stay in for too long a time.
While killing cockroaches in the bathroom of an apartment that will never be her own, she notices she’s menstruating. As she enters the shower, a drop of blood stains a lotto ticket on the floor by the wastepaper basket.
“The fact that it’s already at 24 million is a sure sign I’m not a winner.”
In the same way
that credit card bills
come and go
that the noise of the collective
generator leaves us deaf
that the mortgage bank
threatens to take away
all private property
—this leaky roof—
the most public
of all properties
—which belongs to me
tax free—is enough
Translated by Guillermo Rebollo Gil
Guillermo Rebollo Gil (San Juan, 1979) is a writer and translator from Puerto Rico. He is the author of several poetry, creative nonfiction and academic books. As a translator, he has had the opportunity to publish works by Summer Browning, Noel Black, Alex Maldonado Lizardi, and Cindy Jiménez-Vera.
Cindy Jiménez-Vera (San Sebastian del Pepino, 1978) is a poet, editor, and librarian from Puerto Rico. She is the author of four full-length poetry collections (all in Spanish), as well as a children’s book titled El gran cheeseburger y otros poemas con dientes. Her poetry has been featured in periodicals and anthologies in the Caribbean and Latin America. As an editor, she curated the small independent press Ediciones Aguadulce. A bilingual chapbook of her selected poems, translated by Guillermo Rebollo Gil, was published by Aguadulce in 2018, under the title I’ll Trade You This Island / Te cambio esta isla.
In our twenty-first issue, we shine a spotlight on translation with a cover feature dedicated to Megan McDowell, the translator of many of Latin America’s best-known contemporary writers. Other features include a dossier of literary voices from Bolivia and a full set of fiction, poetry, essays, and interviews, plus exclusive translation previews and writing by Indigenous poets of the Wayuu, Shuar, and Quechua peoples.
Cover photo: Sebastián Escalona