titulo

Palabras Errantes Latin American Literature in Translation

8142369755
My Neighbour without Men

By Dinapiera Di Donato. Translated by Fionn Petch.

 

a fence made of cactus
marked the home of the sting ray’s harpoon
her black veils rippled
no one talks to her

not the breeze, not the dried-up well

the girls from Madeira
sell lace from a white bundle
they feel like pigeons beneath her gaze
avoid her

my grandmother takes pails of water for her
an offering placed before the shut door
while teaching us courtesy
forcing on us ladylike manners
comb our hair say thank you bid farewell
and catch stones
in mid-flight

the vengeful sayona gathers up her
Diogenes syndrome and spills
yards of smooth filaments
around her neck
I do the same
in the ceremony of the waters

hers silver with tortoiseshell
mine dark
an eternity taming
my thatch
an eternity she
brushes hers to a shine
between us
the water
my grandmother knew.

we were good demons
taking care of each other

her barbed wire fence attracts hummingbirds
to the cactus flowers

the sweet fruits allowed us

her threadbare cloak washed for us
my four-year-old war cloak
her ninety-year-old solitude

my own
my grandmother knew

that we could
pluck up the courage
murder
if we were to carve
a pathway through
the house
polish gooseberries
as a gift

not me
I didn’t know

my grandmother crosses the threshold
because Gema Orta is dying
I clear a path through the midden
with a junior witch’s
spell
because I am a soldier and
never a princess
and
her remains are carried off
in suitcases full of wind that
I choose

my grandmother knows

it was the wrong choice:
wrong to pack oneself up
fold oneself up inside with fear and
grey cacti with their fuchsia flowers
a shotgun a silence
to protect oneself
alone
and the unfailing love of another old woman
who understands

it was a place of encounters
but I got lost
mixed up the customs

my stubborn grandmother would not succumb to a bribe
for an ID card that lawfully belongs to her
Gema Orta the vampire the weird forlorn one
the only one on our street
without running water
let the stones fall
my grandmother wraps her in Madeira lace

these are different times
a village of unploughed, fog-wrapped hills
golden dust choking the streets
at the bottom of the last water pail I perceive
the future and the starting point:
this shady place of entwined leaves
will be good
the oasis for parched mining caravans
but not yet

a fence of spiky plants
dry tracks of the great river

a suitcase of bones as strong as jasmine flowers
the word canarí
arrives on the breeze

 

8142369755

Mi vecina sin hombres

una cerca hecha de cactus
era la casa del arpón de la raya
movía sus velos negros
nadie le habla

ni la brisa ni el pozo seco

las muchachas de Madeira
que venden lencería en un atado blanco
se sienten como palomas en su mira
la evitan

mi abuela lleva latas de agua para ella
depositada ofrenda ante la puerta cerrada
manda a ser corteses
el trato de doñas obliga
peinarse agradecer despedirse
atajar en el aire
las piedras

la sayona recoge su síndrome
de Diógenes y asoma
metros de filamento alisado
sobre la nuca
yo hago lo mismo
en la ceremonia de las aguas

el de ella de plata con carey
el mío oscuro
una eternidad domando
mi maraña
una eternidad ella
sacándose brillo
entre ambas
el agua
mi abuela sabía.

éramos buenas demonias
cuidándonos

su cerco de púas atrae al colibrí
para las flores del espinar

las frutas dulces que nos permiten

su capa harapienta lavada para nosotras
mi capa de guerra de cuatro años
su soledad de noventa

la mía
mi abuela sabía

que podíamos
armarnos de valor
asesinar
si solamente abriéramos
una trocha por
la casa
abrillantar grosellas
y obsequiarlas

yo no
yo no sabía

mi abuela entra por vez primera
porque Gema Orta va a morir
aparto el basural con mi fórmula de maga
menor
porque me sé soldado y nunca
princesa
y
se llevan sus restos
grandes maletas llenas de viento que
escojo

mi abuela sabe

que no era la elección correcta:
no había que embalarse
doblarse adentro con el miedo y
cardones grises con sus flores fucsias
un rifle un silencio
para cuidarse
sola
y el amor que no falta de otra anciana
que comprenda

fue un lugar de gentes encontradas
pero yo me perdía
confundí las costumbres

mi abuela testaruda se niega al soborno
por su derecho a una cédula de identidad
a Gema Orta la vampiro la rara la sola
la única de la cuadra
sin agua corriente
suelta las piedras
mi abuela la envuelve en una sábana de Madeira

son otros tiempos
aldea hecha de colinas neblinosas sin agostar
polvo dorado en el cuello de las calles
veo al fondo de la última lata de agua
el futuro y el origen:
será bueno este lugar umbroso de hojas
trenzadas
el oasis de las caravanas mineras sedientas
pero ahora no

un cerco de plantas filosas
huellas secas del gran río

una maleta con huesos fuertes como diamelas
la palabra canarí
en la próxima brisa

 

Dinapiera Di Donato was born in Upata, Venezuela (1957). She lives in New York where she has taught French and Spanish and studied for her doctorate at CUNY. She has studied in France and taught literature and creative writing in Venezuela. She is the author of *Noche con nieve y amantes* (1991), *La sonrisa de Bernardo Axtaga* (1995), *Libro de Rachid avenida Paul Doumer* (1996), *La sorda* (2011), *Colaterales/Collateral* (2013), *Contar Aristeguieta* (2013) and *Vitrales de Aristeguieta* (2014). Her work has received many prizes and has been included in numerous anthologies.

Fionn Petch was born in Scotland and lives in Mexico City, where he works as a freelance translator. He has translated fiction, poetry and plays, as well as numerous books on art, architecture, history and the social sciences. He is also co-curator of the Citámbulos urban research project, and has recently completed a PhD in Philosophy at the National University (UNAM). He can be found online at www.elusiveword.com

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *