Three Poems

 

Photo: @tata186, Unsplash.

Roosevelt Island

Far too high: the sky
suspiciously white.
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.
Nothing fits
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
                 in signs
without mystery.

 

The Weight of the Other Island

Bodies, dominated by light,
withdraw in the presence of murdered skin.

Virgilio Piñera

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.

Languages

LALT No. 18
Number 18

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.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note

Featured Author: Reina María Rodríguez

Dossier: João Cabral de Melo Neto

Fiction

Poetry

Essays

Interviews

Brazilian Literature

Indigenous Literature

Translation Previews and New Releases

On Translation

On Translation: Seeking Publisher

On the Essay

Nota Bene