Far too high: the sky
The day resists itself, the light flees, withdraws,
concealing what it finds. Everything looks
for its pretext in the memory of blood
the knees don’t know
the cadence of an island
that has no space for dust.
the eye’s habit, but always
the chore is one alone:
the delayed apathy in the panes,
the insidious clarity
of an eternal midday that descends
over a world saturated
The Weight of the Other Island
Bodies, dominated by light,
withdraw in the presence of murdered skin.
If only I could talk of the cursed circumstance
beyond the epidermis
enumerate the exterior forms of misery
its altered proliferation in fire
test the mud that penetrates the ears
discover how to burst corneas and incinerate bodies
on a real island, its horrific circumstance.
How to palpate time among the debris of flesh
to no longer have the right to imagine
the circumstances while I sustain all the weight
of a non-existent island in the brain.
On Long Island the Dawn
This is dawn.
To say it another way
I’d have to have the forest’s syllables
its red sadness in my nerves its yoked
bitterness on my tongue.
Here there is no mother
who teaches us to love the names
and keeps the silence for us.
I don’t know how to say it any other way,
here, day breaks.
Translated by Rachel Whalen
Rachel Whalen (Buffalo, NY, 1997) is a teacher, poet and playwright. They graduated from Cornell University with a BA in English Literature and minors in Spanish and Public Service Studies. They are currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at New York University, with a concentration in poetry.
Micaela Paredes Barraza (Santiago de Chile, 1993) earned her degree in Hispanic Letters from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. To date, she has published two verse collections, Nocturnal (2017) and Ceremonias de Interior (2019), both from Cerrojo Ediciones, Chile. She is the co-editor of the poetry journal América Invertida, published in New York. She is currently earning a Master's in Creative Writing at NYU.
In our eighteenth issue, we feature the work of beloved Cuban poet Reina María Rodríguez alongside that of João Cabral de Melo Neto, renowned Brazilian poet and third Latin American winner of the Neustadt Prize. We also highlight Latin American women poets, indigenous literature from Brazil, new works in translation, and a return to the essay through the words of Mariano Picón Salas.