“O homem e a terra” de Siviano Stalon Fortes

For the English translation, click here

Séculos de progressos
Mas também de retrocessos;
Séculos pintados com sangue,
Sem que ninguém se zangue.

Décadas subiram e ganharam o troféu,
E o homo sapiens revelou-se como réu,
pisando aquilo que lhe dá vida
E há muito tempo esquecida

O que temos feito?
A ambição sugou a seiva do existir,
Alimentou o seu defeito,
Vendeu pérolas sem resistir.

Gritos ecoam das profundezas,
Mas os ouvidos fingem nada ouvir,
E o lamentar das belezas
Avisa que, sem mudanças, tudo irá ruir.

“Man and the Earth” by Siviano Stalon Fortes 

Translated by Kent Larsen. For the original Portuguese, click here

Centuries of progression
but also of regression;
centuries painted with blood. Red.
Still, everyone kept a cool head…

Decades arose and gained the crown,
and mankind–that culprit–won renown
for stomping on all that lets life grow
and things forgotten long ago.

What have we done?
Ambition sucked up the sap of existence,
sniffed out a defect and fed it a ton,
sold its pearls without resistance.

Now cries echo from down in the deep
(ears claim not to hear them at all)
but in their lament, earth’s beauties weep
a warning: without changes, all will fall.

“O Caixão de Nhô Jon Anton” de César Augusto Medina Fortes

For the English translation, click here

Nhô Jon Anton nasceu no Mocho da Garça na ilha de Santo Antão e cedo emigrou para a Argentina a procura de uma vida melhor. Todos os anos, voltava para a sua terra natal, para matar as saudades e deixava sempre mais um filho. E entre eles, a Basília, Dalena, Luís, Valentin, Ervelina e outros.

Em 1955, nhô Jon Anton tinha juntado algum dinheiro na Argentina e resolveu regressar à sua terra.  Foi na Cabeça de Mocho da Garça que ele comprou uma casa e uma terrinha. Ele era visto sempre, nas corridas, durante as festas de São Pedro, montado no seu lindo cavalo, com umas botas de couro e o chicote na mão para comandar o cavalo. Era também um grande jogador de oril.

O tempo passou e ele envelheceu. Nhô Jon Anton foi viver com a filha Ervelina em Chã de Igreja, para poder ficar mais perto de um enfermeiro.

E em 1984, já com 84 anos, ele faleceu.

Nhá Ervelina chamou quatro homens de sua confiança, a saber, o carpinteiro João de Hipólito, os primos Autelindo (Kokin) e Aldevino, o professor Chichal e o coveiro Albertino, para uma missão mórbida de irem buscar o caixão de nhô Jon Anton na localidade de Mocho da Garça, onde ele residia anteriormente.

Nhô Jon Anton tinha o seu caixão feito há vários anos e tinha-o guardado na sua casa para quando ele morresse, que não fosse enterrado em qualquer caixão, feito indigente.

Lá partiu os bravos homens para a ingrata missão. O caminho era montanhoso, escuro e longo. E para manterem-se motivados, levaram uma garrafinha de grogue e umas lanternas.

Chegaram na zona de Mocho, entraram na casa de nhá Djodja e contaram o sucedido. O filho, Anton Joaquim, da varanda da casa, bradou:

– Ó ti Jon Corr.  Nhô Jon Anton já merrê na Chã de igreja.

E de lombo em lombo, foram gritando e repassando a mensagem até todo o vale do Mocho ficar a saber da morte de nhô Jon Anton. E começaram a ouvir algumas mulheres a chorar o filho ilustre do vale.

Os quatro homens foram guiados pelo António Joaquim até a casa do falecido para procurarem o caixão. Revistaram toda a casa e não encontraram nada. Depois de estarem exaustos, pararam no centro da casa, pensando onde o falecido teria guardado o raio do caixão.

António Joaquim virou a cara para o teto e viu o caixão pendurado numa tarimba. Riram à vontade.

António Joaquim, alto e forte como era, com braços talhados pelo trabalho de agricultura, segurou sozinho o caixão nos ombros galgou a Selada e de cara para a Chã de Igreja começaram a jornada de volta. Os outros homens, caminhavam ao lado, segurando o caixão para que não caísse. João e Autelindo, como fiéis cristãos, batizados na igreja desde pequenos, tementes a Deus, mas mesmo assim tinham muito medo e começaram logo a orar ao Pai Celestial pedindo que os livrasse e os protegesse do espírito de Nhô Jon Manel, para que ele não entrasse no seu caixão antes de chegarem em Chã de Igreja.

Já era quase meia-noite quando chegaram em Chã de Igreja. Subiram no terraço da casa de nhá Ervelina e Jon de Hipólito munido de um martelo e uns pregos, foi reparar o caixão que, estava quase esforrado por causa da humidade de tantos anos.

Autelindo parecia um poste, com uma vela na mão, iluminando o terraço, para que João de Hipólito concertasse o caixão. Aldevino e Chichal seguravam o caixão enquanto o Jon pregava. Autelindo, que era muito abusado, de vez em quando, deixava cair uns pingos da vela derretida, de propósito, em cima da sandália de plástico do professor Chichal, e que lentamente, deslizavam no meio dos dedos e aí é que queimavam na alma.

E Chichal gritava:

– Ó Kokin, mosse!! Se bô n’era fí de cmade Maria de Vinha me tava dzebe um cosa. Mdjôre bô vitá!

E os outros riam à vontade.

Autelindo deixou cair os pingos da vela vezes sem conta, nos pés de Chichal, a madrugada toda. E Chichal cada vez que isso acontecia, gritava muitos palavrões.

De manhã cedo, o caixão já estava pronto para ser usado, pelo seu legítimo dono.

E foram enterrar nhô Jon Anton, o senhor que em tempos foi emigrante em Argentina e veio repousar na sua terra natal.

Depois do enterro, os bravos rapazes foram dar os pêsames na família. Sentados, cada um num canto da casa, olhavam um para o outro. Autelindo via para o Aldevino e para o Jon de Hipólito e apontava para a sandália de plástico do Chichal, coberto de vela seca e com a mão na boca, riam.

Depois quando sairam, foram para a pracinha e soltaram todos, o riso que estava oprimido. Riram à vontade.

E Chichal dizia meio a sorrir:

– “Hoje jame passá pior que rote num bli, na bsot mon, hein! Bsote é mufine.”

E abraçados, os quatro amigos, juntos, caminharam para a zona de Bordeira para terminar o grande dia, que cumpriram uma ingrata missão, mas com sucesso.

“The Coffin of Master Jôn Anton” by César Augusto Medina Fortes

Translated by Katherine Cowley. For the original Portuguese, click here

Master Jôn Anton was born in Mocho da Garça, on the island of Santo Antão. When he was still young, he immigrated to Argentina in search of a better life. Every year, he visited the land of his birth, where he would banish his longings for home and leave behind an additional child.  Among them are Basília, Dalena, Luís, Valentin, Ervelina, and others.

By 1955, master Jôn Anton had saved enough money in Argentina, and he resolved to return to his homeland. He bought a house and a little land in Cabeça de Mocho de Garça. There you could always see him, at the races and at the Feast of Saint Peter, riding on his beautiful horse, wearing boots made of leather, with a whip in hand that he might command the horse. He was also known as an excellent ouril player.

Time passed and he grew old. Master Jôn Anton went to live with his daughter, Ervelina, in the town Chã de Igreja, so he could be closer to an infirmary.

And in 1984, having lived to the age of eighty-four, he passed away.

Madame Ervelina called four men she trusted, namely, the carpenter João de Hipólito; her cousins, Autelindo (nicknamed Kokin) and Aldevino; the teacher Chichal and the gravedigger Albertino. She gave them a morbid mission: to find the coffin of master Jôn Anton, somewhere in Mocho da Garça, where he had previously lived.

Master Jôn Anton had his coffin made a number of years before, and he had kept it in his house so that when he died, he would not be buried in just any coffin, like a pauper.

The brave men left on this thankless mission. The path was mountainous, dark, and long. To keep themselves going, they brought a bottle of grog and lanterns.

They arrived in the region of Mocho and entered into the house of madame Djodja and told her what had happened. Her son, Antôn Joaquim, stood on the porch of the house and shouted:

“Jon Corr, where art thou? Master Jôn Anton has died in Chã de Igreja.”

Voice after voice yelled and passed on the message until everyone in the valley of Mocho knew of the death of master Jôn Anton. And you began to hear some of the women crying over the illustrious son of the valley.

The four men were guided by António Joaquim to the house of the deceased so they could find the coffin. They searched the entire house, yet they saw no sign of it. Exhausted, they stopped in the middle of the house, wondering where the dead man had kept his damn coffin.

António Joaquim turned his face upwards and saw the coffin hanging from a rafter. They all laughed freely.

António Joaquim, tall and strong as he was, with arms sculpted by agricultural work, carried the coffin by himself, on his shoulders, as they climbed the slopes of Selada and turned in the direction of Chã de Igreja and began the return journey. The other men walked at his side, steadying the coffin so it would not fall.

João and Autelindo were both faithful Christians. They had been baptized in the LDS church when they were young, and they were fearful of God, yet even so, they were much afraid. They began to pray to their Heavenly Father, pleading that he would deliver and protect them from the spirit of Master Jôn Anton, so that it would not enter his coffin before they arrived at Chã de Igreja.

It was almost midnight when they arrived at Chã de Igreja. They climbed to the terrace of Madame Ervelina’s house, and João de Hipólito, armed with a hammer and nails, began to repair the coffin, for it had been damaged by the humidity of so many years.

Autelindo stood like a pole, a candle in his hand, illuminating the terrace so that João de Hipólito could fix the coffin. Aldevino and Chichal would hold the coffin steady when Jon asked. Autelindo, who was quite mischievous, would at times let the wax from the candle drip—on purpose—onto professor Chichal’s plastic sandals, and slowly the wax would slip down in between the toes and there it would burn him, all the way to the soul.

And Chichal would yell, “Kokin, you lad! If you weren’t the son of my godmother, Maria de Vinha, then I’d tell you to go to a very fiery place. You’d better knock it off!”

The others would just start laughing.

Autelindo let the candle wax drip, time and time again, on Chichal’s feet, for the entire night. And every time this happened, Chichal shouted out profanities.

By the time the sun rose, the coffin was ready to be used by its rightful owner.

And inside was buried Master Jôn Anton, the gentleman who had for a time immigrated to Argentina and then came to rest in the land of his birth.

After the funeral, the brave lads paid their respects to the family. They each sat in a different corner of the house, looking at each other. Autelindo would catch the eyes of Aldevino and João de Hipólito, and then point at Chichal’s plastic sandals, which were covered in dried wax. They placed their hands over their mouths and snickered.

After it was over, they went out to the square and were finally able to let out all of their suppressed mirth. They laughed without end.

And Chichal said with half a smile, “You are a naughty lad. Today I have suffered at your hands, worse than a mouse in a bli!” A bli was a round Calabash gourd, hollowed out, dried, and used to carry milk to drink while working in the fields. Sometimes a mouse would climb into an empty gourd and be stuck, running and running in circles, spinning round and round until they died.

The four friends embraced, and, together, they walked to Bordeira to end their grand day, in which they had accomplished a thankless yet successful mission.

“The Fourth Ward Filibuster” by Kevin Klein

Sunday morning I woke up with the feeling that I should go to church early. It was more than a feeling, actually, and sure enough, when I arrived Brother Nigel LaBeouf was layering his organ prelude with unmistakable notes from that immortal Boston song.

At a quarter to nine the chapel was almost half full and funereally solemn. It would be a hard Sunday. Two weeks ago a member of the stake presidency had informed us that the records of any members aged 30 and over who were attending singles wards in the area would be moved into their corresponding family wards. Today five of our flock would be released from their callings, including Nigel LaBeouf.

No one in a Church calling is irreplaceable, but Nigel was certainly inimitable. He played with the passion of a concert pianist, his torso lifting and swaying, toupéed head shaking in impassioned little no-thank-yous. By weekday he taught German at the local junior high, where he’d taught many of my friends. Despite an English first and French last name he spoke with a German accent, a mystique which heightened when my friend, who became his home teaching companion, discovered he’d grown up in Kansas and served an English-speaking mission in Florida.

Seamlessly, “More than a Feeling” led into three measures of “There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today,” followed by the entire minute-long intro of Zeppelin’s “Your Time is Gonna Come”—which is, actually, a church organ prelude. That tune put a lump in my throat. I’d joined the ward after graduating from high school two months before, and any Zeppelin song reminded me of high school, and that it was over, and that, like Nigel LaBeouf, you can’t hold on to anything forever.

At five minutes to nine, the bishopric took the stage. Nigel’s next motif surprised me. He often riffed on Clapton’s “The Presence of the Lord” during his sacrament post-lude, but here it was in the prelude. That, I realized looking back, was no coincidence. Nor was it an accident when Brother Brady, our first counselor, stood to conduct, and Nigel held out the final chord five seconds too long.

Brother Brady waited, turned toward the organ, swiveled back, then welcomed us, recognizing Bishop Fry and Brother Tingey, the second counselor, as well as Brother Jensen from the high council. He expressed appreciation to Sister Jimenez for conducting the music, and then, ceremoniously turning around again, thanked Brother LaBeouf for his years of service to the ward.

The opening song was “Now Let Us Rejoice.” But Nigel had transposed it—maybe beforehand, maybe on the fly—into a minor key. It was the right thing to do with the wrong hymn for the occasion, but it didn’t make the singing any easier. People glanced around, whispered, and shrugged. The bishopric members glanced at each other but did not shrug.

Near the end of the final chorus, Tami Jackson approached to say the opening prayer. She’d timed her walk perfectly to arrive at the podium two seconds after the hymn’s final chord, but it never came. Well, it did, but instead of pulling off, Brother LaBeouf began a variation on the melody, moving in fairly brisk quarter notes with solid pedalwork to arrive at a slowed-down rendition of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Tami stood with folded arms. Ten seconds passed. She turned to look at Nigel, but he kept swaying away, eyes closed. She gestured toward the bishopric, who were engaged in earnest discussion, then after a few more seconds just walked back to her seat.

Meanwhile, Nigel kept playing. “Let Us All Press On” morphed into Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down.” Bishop Fry walked back and put his arm around Brother LaBeouf, still swaying and shaking his head. Bishop Fry returned to his seat and whispered to Brother Brady, who approached the podium and announced, almost shouting, “WE’D LIKE TO CONDUCT AN ITEM OF WARD BUSINESS–”

But a speaker-distorting surge of organ drowned him out. He covered his ears and kept talking, but we could only see his mouth move. Brother Tingey strode to the organ, bent down, and amid strains of “Sunday Bloody Sunday”—a bit too far, in my opinion—yanked out the power cord.

The sound from the organ stopped immediately, but Nigel kept playing. In dazed collective silence we heard the clack of plastic keys against felt, the gentle tap of foot pedals. Nigel, sweating like Bruce Springsteen, kept swaying to a rhythm now only in his head.

Brother Brady returned to the podium. “Okay, brothers and sisters, we’d like to thank Brother Nigel LaBeouf—”

NOO!

Not the shout of a repudiated organist, but its corresponding fermata-powered chord from “Shall the Youth of Zion Falter?” out of an inexplicably reanimated organ. True to the truth…Nigel drove home those chords, left hand and both feet dancing down the bass line of the chorus. People stood, trying to see how the organ had started playing again, or sat with eyes closed and hands over ears. This was the 1990s, and the bishopric didn’t have cell phones to call the stake president or police. They huddled again, pointing and gesturing around a blue Handbook of Instructions.

Finally, as Nigel played “All Creatures of Our God and King” mashed up with “Don’t Stop Believing,” the three bishopric members and Brother Jensen approached the organ. Another hand on the shoulder from Bishop Fry, then a step back, a visible three-count, and two brethren took Nigel LaBeouf lovingly under each sweat-gray armpit and hoisted him up. The other two unhooked his legs from the organ bench, and together they carried him twisting and protesting through sobs towards the chapel’s heavy swinging doors.

We watched in helpless silence. Then someone started clapping. In another second the chapel erupted, people standing and cheering and clapping as they set Nigel on his feet and escorted him out of the chapel, broken-spirited and released, but not without our vote of thanks.

“Grafted Branches” by Jeanine Bee

When I was in third grade, our class spent some time studying world cultures. We each chose a country and prepared a project to share with the class detailing things like “geography,” and “traditional dress.” When it was my turn to present my country, I stood proudly and announced to my class that I was part Mexican.

I am not Hispanic.

In fact, my lineage is almost entirely British. I have fair skin and blue-green eyes. I imagine my teacher was probably confused at my declaration, but I was too busy describing the local diet to notice.

Later that evening, my parents took the time to explain to me that while, yes, my great-grandmother had been born in Mexico, it’s not like I had a long line of Mexican ancestors. Verona was every bit as British as her parents before her. They had just been living in Mexico when Verona was born.

“You mean, like they were on vacation?” I asked.

“Sort of,” my mom said.

They were not on vacation.

But it was a school night and, as a parent now, I empathize with my mom’s decision to end the line of questioning there.  In actuality, my great-grandmother, Verona Richardson, had been born in Chihuahua, Mexico, in the Mormon polygamist Colonia Juárez.

#

As it turns out, these early experiences were not an anomaly, but rather the beginning of a confusing lifelong pattern. Every time I thought I had an understanding of who my family was and where we came from, I’d learn something different. It was like being handed a puzzle piece that never quite fit with the ones I already had. For example: though, as I learned in third grade, I am not exactly Mexican, so many of our family traditions have been influenced by the Richardson’s life in Mexico—like our enchiladas. Verona learned how to make red enchilada sauce from scratch in Mexico, and we’ve been making that sauce as a family ever since. There are no written instructions for the sauce; it’s been passed down from parent to child, learning by watching and doing. It’s less of recipe and more of a ritual.

At some point I came to learn that no one else did enchiladas quite like us. My friends always envisioned the enchiladas from the Mexican restaurant in the shopping center next to Rite Aid—little tortilla cylinders stuffed with ground beef and drowned in a red sauce that tasted like the can it had come from. Our enchiladas are different. They are a celebration of the chili sauce. Tortillas are stacked like pancakes on a plate. Tortilla, sauce, cheese, onion. Repeat. When I compared the tiny tortilla tubes to our plates heaped with soft fried corn tortillas, each dressed in a fresh, velvety chili sauce, I knew that our enchiladas were what made our family unique.

We were not unique.

But it wasn’t until I was a teenager that we met the Wrights. Their eyes lit up in recognition when my dad described our stacked enchiladas. “Yes!” they exclaimed. “We thought we were the only ones!” Church history had taken their family to the colonies in Mexico, and they had also emerged with the enchilada stacks. But then my dad started to reminisce about our sauce-making ritual. He waxed poetic about processing the leathery, red chilies , peeling them open to remove the seeds and veins, the dust from the dried peppers wafting into the air and bringing tears (of joy? Irritation? Both?) to your eyes.

The Wrights just smiled politely. “Oh,” they said. “We make our sauce with tomatoes.”

Tomatoes?

“Oh, yeah,” the Wrights said. “Our ancestors were on the wealthier side, so they made their enchilada sauce with tomatoes. The colonists who weren’t as… well off… made their sauce from chilies.”

“Excuse me?” my entire family—dead and alive—said collectively.

#

My understanding of my family history and culture is still evolving. But the times when it feels most relevant to me personally are the times when it brings the loose threads of my family story together.

My mom’s side of the family lives in Missouri, and did not join the church until just sixty years ago. They don’t have the strange, hybrid culture that my dad’s side of the family does. But I’ve often heard the story of my depression-era grandpa bringing my depression-era grandma a squirrel from the backyard to prepare for dinner. My grandma grimaced and said, “Oh, Billy. You know squirrels are so greasy!” My dad has, on more than one occasion, teased my mom about that story and the unsophisticated cuisine of her country upbringing. So when my mom heard that the magic chili sauce was “poor-people food,” her eyes lit up.

“We should serve it with a side of squirrel!” she teased. (My mom loves the chili sauce just as much as the rest of our family. She just couldn’t resist the jab.)

The Wright’s revelation had brought the enchilada story full circle for me. I wasn’t very Mexican, and the enchiladas didn’t make us special. Rather, I came from people on both sides of my family who sacrificed to make do. People who were willing to uproot their lives to take care of their families, whether that was traveling across the great dustbowl and making a meal of squirrels, or relocating to Mexico and subsisting on a sauce made from dried chili peppers. That fact alone adds more flavor to a meal than any spice you can buy.

Though, to be clear, we did eventually invite the Wrights over for an enchilada taste-off, and, while their sauce did not taste as much like bland ketchup as I thought it would, I’d take our “poor-people” enchiladas any day.

“Christ in Gethsemane” written and translated by Gabriel González Núñez

For the original Spanish, click here.

Christ in Gethsemane

Ekphrastic poem after Carl Bloch’s painting by the same name

I have not enjoyed the privilege
of walking through the halls
of Frederiksborg Castle
of strolling in front of its paintings
of finding astonishment in its art
but I did enjoy the privilege
of trembling
before the pictorial display
that Carl Bloch named Kristus i Gestsemane have
which I cannot pronounce
but I did experience.

The work was transported
from Old Europe
to New America
translated
placed wholly
in a transformed surrounding.
In the museum
it was given its own room
the high altar.
In the museum’s nave
there it awaited
for the arrival
of art parishioners.
There it awaited
for my arrival.

 And he came out
and went
as he was wont
to the mount of Olives.

I arrived without knowing
that there it sat
silently
expecting me.
When I entered into its room
into the nave
time started dragging
moving more and more slowly
until it stopped altogether.
Before the master’s masterpiece
there lay rows of empty chairs.
In that stopping of time
there I sat to gaze in contemplation.

And he was withdrawn from them
about a stone’s cast
and kneeled down
and prayed
and being in an agony
he prayed more earnestly
and his sweat was
as it were great drops of blood
falling down to the ground
and there appeared an angel unto him from heaven
strengthening him.

The painting was
of cosmic proportions.
It was a sea of deep blackness
a pair of abysmal jaws
an engulfing darkness,
and in the center of that hole
light
a bright and red robe
a bright and white robe
all of it illuminated
as if by large high-intensity beams,
a Man exhausted
worn down
stricken
in his clothes of blood and wine,
an Angel saddened
winged
dove-like
kneeling on a primordial stone
an uncrackable rock
an Angel that caresses the Man’s crown
tenderly,
all in this moment of silence
of unending blackness
by an old, leafless tree.

When he rose up from prayer
and was come to his disciples
he found them sleeping
for sorrow.

 

The room seems dark
inert
suspended.
I feel the light of a secret sobbing
of a crimson horror
the colossal weight of an infinite blackness
of a heaven broken into swaying shards
of heavy shadows
like the depths of the ocean.
Behind me someone walks in
and the second hand on the clock retakes its cycle.
I stand up.
I leave the museum.

Since then
I carry the memory
of that enormous blackness
of a blackness that grows year after years
and also
the memory
of the light
which that abyss
of millions upon millions of dead nebulae
cannot find a way to extinguish.

“Cristo en el huerto de Getsemaní” de Gabriel González Núñez

For the English translation, click here

Cristo en el huerto de Getsemaní

Poema ecfrástico a partir de la obra homónima de Carl Bloch

No tengo el privilegio
de haber recorrido los pasillos
del Palacio de Frederiksborg
de pasearme frente a sus cuadros
de admirarme ante su arte
mas tuve el privilegio
de estremecerme
frente al despliegue pictórico
que Carl Bloch llamó Kristus i Gestsemane have
que no sé pronunciar
pero supe vivenciar.

La obra fue transportada
de la vieja Europa
a la nueva América
trasladada
depositada intacta
en un entorno transformado.
En el museo
le dieron cuarto propio
el altar mayor.
En la nave central del lugar
allí aguardaba
la llegada de los feligreses del arte.
Allí aguardaba
mi llegada.

 Y saliendo
se fue
como solía
al monte de los Olivos.

 Llegué sin saber
que allí estaba
callada
esperándome.
Cuando entré en su cuarto propio
en la nave central
el tiempo empezó a arrastrarse
comenzó a enlentecerse
llegó a detenerse.
Frente a la obra maestra del maestro
había hileras de sillas vacías.
En ese detenerse del tiempo
allí me senté a contemplar.

Y él se apartó
a distancia como de un tiro de piedra
y puesto de rodillas
oró

y estando en agonía
oraba más intensamente
y era su sudor
como grandes gotas de sangre
y se le apareció un ángel del cielo
para fortalecerle.

El cuadro tenía
proporciones cósmicas.
Era un mar de negro hondo
unas fauces abismales
una tenebrosidad absorbente,
y en el centro del hueco
una luz
una túnica reluciente y roja
una túnica reluciente y blanca
todo iluminado
como con enormes focos de alta intensidad,
un Varón exhausto
agotado
fulminado
en sus ropajes de sangre y vid,
un Ángel triste
alado
palómico
hincado sobre una piedra primordial
una roca inquebrable
un Ángel que acaricia la coronilla del Varón
con ternura,
todo en el silencio
de un negro inacabable
de un árbol viejo y deshojado.

 Cuando se levantó de la oración
y vino a sus discípulos
los halló durmiendo
a causa de la tristeza.

El cuarto parece oscuro
inerte
suspendido.
Siento la luz de un sollozo secreto
de un horror carmesí
el peso colosal de un negro infinito
de un cielo quebrado en esquirlas pendulantes
de sombras pesadas
como las profundidades del océano.
A mis espaldas entra alguien
y el segundero del reloj retoma su ciclo.
Me pongo de pie.
Salgo del lugar.

Desde entonces
me acompaña el recuerdo
de aquella negrura inmensa
de una negrura que crece con los años
y también
el recuerdo
de la luz
que ese abismo
de millones de millones de nébulas extintas
no logra apagar.

“Blood in the Garden” by Whitney Hemsath

Blood spills on the garden floor.
It isn’t mine
but should be.

My fig leaves, like ignorance, itch to be shed.
They will not be enough beyond the garden—I know that now.
I know we need these coats of skin.

But the beasts—their blood!
It drips like juice from fresh-bit fruit
and stains the soil red.

I cling to the discomfort of my apron because I did not know.
How could I have known?
I thought only those who ate would pay.

With sharpened stone and solemn face our brother calls more beasts.
We wait—for choice ever blooms in this garden—
and I weep as more gentle friends come.

Answering his call, they choose among the flowers
where they will lie,
where they will die,
where they will bleed to cover my cost.

One day when I bring through my blood our own fruit
and these precious skins cover my own,
I may forget the perfumes of Eden,
the heat of the sword all aflame,
but never the trampled flowers under willing hooves
or the far-future promise
of blood in a garden

that won’t be mine
but should be.