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

Growing up

November 2020 Poetry Feature: David Lehman

DAVID LEHMAN
Science explained everything, / the workings of windshield wipers, for example: / “The darkness causes the rain / and comes from the rain, which goes up / to the sky and falls down again / on the windshield and the windows.

Pine tree at sunset

July on South St. (AEAE)

NICK MAIONE
I open the doors and windows and shut off the lights./ For a while I play tunes on the fiddle / shirtless in my dark house. I love doing this. / For the first time all day I am not at home. / For the first time since the last time / my body is the same size as my flesh.

Beach at dawn

Claudia Prado: Poems from THE BELLY OF THE WHALE

CLAUDIA PRADO
with one strong arm she turns the steering wheel / and hangs the other out the Ford’s window / ashing a cigarette that could set fire to the whole earth / two women crossing a plain changed / by that slant afternoon light / forget the child in the backseat...