First & Last Remembrance Against Fear and Other Poems

Translated from Spanish by Aldo Amparán

First & Last Remembrance Against Fear

I, too,
remember my mother.
I’m afraid to conjure her
as she once wanted to be.
She thought of the way
young mothers
were scorned,
though it didn’t keep her
from winding the cord
in the music box
on the rocking chair.
She arrived scared to death
at a nursing home:
War took her by surprise
as she gave birth.
One day the streets were left
of sad women
who smiled
having watched fear die
on their breasts.
& there are still mysteries
dripping down the throat
of a dead child:

—Winter arrived far
from the foothills of salt.

My city burned
after the rocks
were stained with blood,
men & women
forgot: peace
was the lost glory of the ages,
that the revolution of fear
had then
been triumph entombed
in the belly of single mothers.

Death’s False Secrets
(small simulations)

Death: a girl
lost in Madrid,
—she is naïve, tender
& melancholic.

She doesn’t know to forgive
yet she claims to be in love
with the boy who pretends
to die in the italicized
lines of this poem.
She thinks,
I don’t understand why
bad men persist.
& nearly drained of energy
she wraps herself
in hospital sheets
when she listens on the radio
to news of a woman murdered
in Ciudad Juárez.

Such news doesn’t reach
this rural suburb,
[she warns.

Some nights she smiles at all the sadness
—she is ashamed to admit—
but she isn’t the one suffering,
she isn’t the girl on the screen
who was raped by her father.

This time I won’t
be humane toward them, she hesitates.

She drinks a glass of water
& sets out to her new journey,
her blind hands tucked
inside the pockets of her overalls.

Tomorrow, another dead girl,
& the hand that summoned her
will be the fugitive murderer
on the blank page.

A Belly, too, Weeps of Joy
(heritage of sadness)

This cemetery
of birds,
this child
found dead
in the landfill
has been proclaimed
heritage of sadness
—nothing strange for women like you:
You look in the mirror
& you are anorexic
before that sheltering death,
you keep making fun
of her
while she keeps
being born inside your belly:
“Hush! The ground will give birth to a tree,
the sarcastic silence (laughs with sadness)
sleeps next to you
dies of joy
& buries inside you the name
of the one who wrote this poem.

Billy Blue’s Dream

The scarecrows dream of being Billy Blue,
& he dreams of being one of the scarecrows
[in the city

here dreams walk barefoot
here death is less stern
here whoever doesn’t yawn at life
is sentenced to death
here people want to be foreigners
to return to their countries.

At sundown,
Billy is one of those kids
selling flowers at the stoplights
whose deed is worthy of being named
inhumanity’s historical,
intangible heritage.

What else could Billy dream of
if not the shade of extinguished days?