Native Shore / Orilla Natal

By MARA PASTOR
Translated by MARÍA JOSÉ GIMÉNEZ

This island is full of women
who come back the way
skeletons return with the surge
or turtles to their native shore.
They were counting on the debt,
but not on heavy metals in the water,
cadmium in the ash they breathe.
Nothing prepared for the poverty of the house,
for a piece of the pool collapsing,
for a molar that will make your mother
wait for three months
because illness also waits in line.

//

Esta isla está llena de mujeres
que regresan como vuelven
las osamentas con las marejadas
o las tortugas a la orilla natal.
Contaban con la deuda,
pero no con metales pesados en el agua,
el cadmio en la ceniza que respiran.
Nada preparó para la pobreza de la casa,
el derrumbe de un pedazo de piscina,
una muela por la que su madre
tendrá que esperar tres meses
porque la enfermedad también hace fila.

 

Mara Pastor is a Puerto Rican poet. Her works include the translated chapbooks As Though the Wound Had Heard and Children of Another Hour, and, in Spanish, Sal de Magnesio, Arcadian Boutique, and Poemas para Fomentar el Turismo. She lives in Ponce, Puerto Rico. 

María José Giménez is a poet, translator, and editor who has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Banff International Literary Translation Centre, and the Katharine Bakeless Nason Endowment. Assistant translation editor of Anomaly, Giménez is the translator of Tilting at Mountains (Edurne Pasaban), Red, Yellow, Green (Alejandro Saravia), and As Though the Wound Had Heard (Mara Pastor). 

Native Shore / Orilla Natal

Related Posts

Headshot of Anne Pierson Wiese

Sharp Shadows

ANNE PIERSON WIESE
On our kitchen wall at a certain time / of year appeared what we called the sharp / shadows. / A slant of western light found / its way through the brown moult of fire / escape hanging on to our Brooklyn rental / building for dear life and etched replicas / of everything

Sunlight coming through a window. Photo from Pexels.

January 2024 Poetry Feature: Four Poems by Vinod Kumar Shukla

VINOD KUMAR SHUKLA
To get out of bed in the morning, / I don’t depend on anyone / except on my sleep. / If I’m fast asleep / and it’s time to get out of bed, / I find myself opening my eyes. / When I want to stay awake, sleep won’t come. / If I stay awake all night / sleep won’t come all night.

A bumblebee on a daffodil

January 2024 Poetry Feature: Part I

ADRIENNE SU
Every woman / is expected to become. / Always being touched, // always creating, / I cherished being wanted / and necessary, // was glad to possess / a body that could nourish / more than its own mind. // Yet I couldn’t sleep / though I ached for sleep; something.