I am afraid / no one understands // the gentle mind of someone / living like a hermit
If it wasn’t for our inborn optimism –
we drop coins into the sea, plant pear trees that are going to grow for centuries –
understanding of reality would burn us
like a match may burn poplar fluff
Today the warden has come to visit. He hands me a napkin with a color print of “The Storming of the Bastille” on one side, an escape plan on the other.
She’s bellowing to herself as she sits on the little portable stool. Vendors are charged an arm and a leg to get into the antiques fair.
This is an excerpt from the fourth major section of the book Africana (Gyldendal, 2019). Translations of other chapters can be found in Asymptote, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Delos (University of Florida Press).
“We were arguing,” she said. Her eyes felt wide. Her palms were drenched in sweat.
“What?” Her boyfriend grabbed her elbow. He felt like fire. She pulled away. And he looked pale to her. Pale as bones. She smelled smoke. “When?”
“I don’t know. I don’t remember.” The incense singed her nose. Everything was aflame. “Wedding invitations?”
It was clear to me now that I was on a hospital bed, suspended in a coma that teetered between life and death.
“Clam shells, your hands, / your hull’s flare in the palm hold. / Enshrouding bone on bone./ Curved like a whale. / Washed up.”
The man shook her hand. The woman sat down opposite, with her handbag between her feet, feet which were half-exposed in low-heeled slingbacks. The man looked over the top of his glasses at her. “Are you feeling okay?” “Yes.” “Would you like any water?” “No.” “Tea, coffee…?” “No.” “Esther Salarrue Arribalzaga.” “Yes.” “Okay […]
In a boat that drifts through the South Atlantic, close to what we as Argentines call the Malvinas, and that on English maps they figure as the Falklands, I face the important though sad task of searching for and rescuing the dreams of Argentine soldiers (sometimes we also rescue English dreams) that were lost in […]