Three Poems


Venezuelan writer Jacqueline Goldberg. Photo: Umar Timol.

A Place of Precariousness

On the desk
sits a picture of my excised uterus,
a mess that says so little
about its fibers, the properties.

I’ve tried to spend time with the image every afternoon,
convincing myself that this sacrificial lump
was once attached to my belly.
Its smooth, glistening surface
slipped away in a few short hours of surgery.
Hereafter, there will be a gentleness.

I still feel twinges in my abdomen,
fatigue when I slow down.

It’s hard to lash out against certain outcomes:
wounds aren’t dikes,
they don’t cradle,
don’t regress.

Maybe I’ll reproduce the image on a glossy postcard
and give it away to my friends.
On the back I’ll write:
“pyriform uterine body of 7 x 6 centimeters,

in which fibromatosis was diagnosed
adenomyosis and proliferative endometrium,
extracted from Jacqueline Goldberg,
on Tuesday February 21 of the year 2006.”

Let it be seen.

The compliant stubble matters to me.

It’s an essential portrait,
a port of origin without end.
My old maw.


State of Exile

There is a string of emancipated verbs, without sky.

Everything is mine. The pestilent and lightweight things.
I kneaded it all, bit it all, cradled it.

Mine are the inaccuracies,
the mud doesn’t subside,
threads of blood coagulate the home.

Mine is whatever despoils,
sap of one greedy afternoon,
crumbling bones in the womb.

I carry minutiae to my disgust, to my exile.

The losses won’t pull the evil out of me,
they won’t make me generous or punctual.

If I go I will carry everything,

assemble fear in another port,
sully myself for new hope.


The Dying Man Summons Us

the dying man summons us,
to recapitulate his life

forced as he is
to breathe for himself until the end
his confession is a second hand one
lacks the will
to conceal certain loyalties

in the vastness of farewells
truth is always a scandal

Translated by Consuelo Méndez, with William Blair


Mario Bellatin
Number 13

In our thirteenth issue, we feature two innovative, hard-to-define figures of Latin American letters: from the present, Mexican writer Mario Bellatin, and from the past, Chilean writer Juan Emar. Together with these authors, we highlight Latin American theatre for the first time with a script by Ramón Griffero, Nahuatl-language poetry by Martín Tonalmeyotl, plus interviews, book reviews, exclusive previews, and more from writers including Rosario Castellanos, César Aira, and Salgado Maranhão.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Mario Bellatin

Dossier: Juan Emar



Brazilian Literature

Indigenous Literature



Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation: Seeking Publisher

Nota Bene