Given that I write in a language
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,
that I can allow myself,
as a luxury,
Translated by Lawrence Schimel
Fabio Morábito is a writer and poet. He was born in Alexandria to Italian parents. When he was three years old, his family returned to Italy, and at fifteen years old he moved again to Mexico. Although his first language is Italian, he has written all of his works in Spanish. Several of his books have been translated to German, English, French, Portuguese, and Italian. In 2016, the book Oficios del nómada: Fabio Morábito ante la crítica was published, collecting twenty essays by writers and academics from the United States, Spain, Germany, and Latin America on his literary works. He has written poetry, short stories, novels, and essays, receiving various prizes, among them the Aguascalientes and Carlos Pellicer poetry prizes and the Antonin Artaud prize for fiction. He is currently a researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas of UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Lawrence Schimel (New York, 1971) is a full-time author, writing in both Spanish and English, who has published over one hundred books in a wide range of genres, including fiction, poetry, graphic novels, and children's literature. He is also a prolific literary translator. Recent translations include the novels The Wild Book by Juan Villoro (Restless Books) and La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono (The Feminist Press in the US/Modjaji Books in South Africa), the graphic novel of Jesús Carrasco's Out in the Open (SelfMadeHero), and poetry collections Nothing is Lost: Selected Poems by Jordi Doce (Shearsman), Dangerous Matter by Garbiela Cantú Westendarp (Literal Publishing), and Destruction of the Lover by Luis Panini (Pleaides Press, forthcoming 2019). He lives in Madrid, Spain.
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.