Straps that hold suspended words to the inflexible wheel of the mouth, fetters of saying and not saying. Rust violates the gums, the dark vaults of thirst. In their terror the vowels sicken. There is dirty light in the apron of time, flies buzzing around the bazaars of rage, lumps of neglect in each litre of milk in freezers where the poverty line creeps up. Forms of purification, heart-hardeners, butchers’ hooks that bleed rosy lunged animals dry –one is Eastern and the other Western–. Each animal meets its suffering, ever innocent in its suffering. And with their dense and sticky drop the earth fertilises the apple trees, the fruit that is equally innocent. Nonetheless, when chewing and writing letters of air on its gravely wounded body, the mouth leaves behind a trail of seeds. Omnivorous and feverish, it chooses also to beg compassion from the metals, to ask the fetters to liberate their prey with a slash of the dagger that flashes like an unexpected sun. May the straps set loose the words. May the metals have compassion.
by María Ángeles Pérez López
Translated by Lucina Schell
Unpublished. Published by permission of Vaso Roto & the translator.
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María Ángeles Pérez López is a Spanish poet, editor and professor, who teaches at the Universidad de Salamanca. The author of over a dozen collections, she has won numerous prizes, including most recently the Premio de la Crítica de poesía en español in 2022.
Lucina Schell is an international rights manager and a member of the Third Coast Translators Collective. Her translations include Daiana Henderson’s So That Something Remains Lit and Vision of the Children of Evil by Miguel Ángel Bustos, as well as selections from authors including Erika Martínez, Graciela Cros and Ada Salas.