Poems by Luciana Jazmín Coronado and Verónica González Arredondo Translated From The Spanish

Artwork and Cover Art for Damas Errantes/ Wandering Woman Courtesy of Abel Lozano.

from Catacumbas/Catacombs by Luciana Jazmín Coronado
Part I


I pricked her lips with the pin
she remained anesthetized
sleeping at my father’s side 

stiff as the base
of a windmill

I enjoyed stitching up
her lips:
her blood didn’t run
a perfect mask
took shape—
on the verge of performing a ritual

later I watched my father,
a newly captured bear  
come unraveled
on the white sheets
his mouth opening
with every breath 

then I left
I was smaller 
than the moon
on the doorstep


I used to sleep in the utility room
with a little stuffed bear
when I visited you, Father.
it was the only toy there
and out of pity for the bear
I gave him your name: Daniel

Daniel hurts, Father, 
he is alive in me.
Daniel is sweet
but a carnivore inside
his pain is like the winter wind 
biting my eyelashes

it hurts, Daddy Daniel,
your mirror inside me
a sculpture of salt
he hurts, Daddy
but I don’t bleed
I left my deepness
at the mouth of the well 
your old face with its lines
and your spider web eyes
frighten me, Daddy
what is inside me hurts
without a sense of touch

Daddy, I have said
you will never see me again.
I will recite these words
until I sense you are dead
in the end, every word I speak
unbinds your web
further from me. 

Father of wind
you may be waiting for this poem
in your paleness

I will mark 
your coffin 
with chalk
I will embroider your clothes

I will create words 
in your mouth
with these poems

I will enter softly, Daddy
so as not to disturb you

From I Am Not That Body by Verónica González Arredondo

Lost Butterfly
To Valeria Reyes

We enter a store. Inside are brightly colored threads; I watch them embroider one another. “I want to knit a rabbit,” I tell the shopkeeper. “You can’t. Nothing but wings for you; you would prick it with the needles and it would bleed to death. You will be the embroiderer. You’ll change your costume behind this curtain; then a woman will apply your makeup as you continue smiling.” I don’t like the way he’s looking at my wings—if he tries to dress me he’ll have to tear them off my back and I’ll bleed to death. “You know very well fairies turn into insects and are immortal; don’t argue and let’s go.” I asked his name. “I’m Salvador,” he said, “El Salvador, ‘The Savior,’ like the country.” He had the face of one who knows everything. He took me by the hand and we went; I don’t know about those stories where the woodcutter or the grandmother is devoured in a cottage. For me, the moral includes a tree of thread, embroidering birds and leaves.

Another One Descends into the Gorge

In the flower jar lies an afternoon turned putrid on the Seine. The summer shelters this current of cadavers. Among the lilies sprouts a face with a pair of orchids. It brings with it an intimacy exposed to the shadows of dewdrops, to a breeze of moles and birthmarks in the wind. The one with that face still has a feline scent—her body without a blemish. Or so I would like to believe.

from Wandering Women by Verónica González Arredondo

(Untitled Poem)

My grandmother drops her skirt; her mons is a nest of feathers, her branching feet two twigs from a tree. She pauses before speaking as birds sprout down there: “I will be night guardian,” she tells my sister and me. After dinner she tucks us into bed. Before falling asleep, we ask her to tell us, again, about the time a woman asked her to be a lookout: “There were knocks on my door. She was dressed in tattered rags; fleeing. I gave her chestnuts to eat; she drank milk. They were pursuing her, three towns away, for turning their rams into stew. She said she let it simmer all night. I laughed. We were going to starve to death—among owls, we must tend our wings—then she touched me on the shoulder.”

(Untitled Poem)

A woman gathers up her skirt in the forest. Her flimsy legs are branches or an insect made of stalks and stubble. She undresses. She squats and unloosens on her back—the sound of an umbrella opening—a pair of wings. She flies off in search of butter to absentmindedly taste, in dairies or freshly prepared by fairies. With her olive tree ears and her hare feet, when night falls she swiftly jumps the fence to sip warm cow’s milk.

About the Authors

Luciana Jazmín Coronado, born in Buenos Aires, is one of Argentina’s most celebrated emerging poets. She has published two highly acclaimed books of poetry, La insolación/Sunstroke (Viajero Insomne, 2014) and Catacumbas/Catacombs (Valparaíso, 2016), winner of the I Premio Hispanoamericano de Poesía de San Salvador/First San Salvador Prize for Hispano-American Poetry.

Verónica González Arredondo (Guanajuato, Mexico) holds a PhD in Arts from the Universidad Guanajuato and an MA in Philosophy from the Universidad de Zacatecas. She is the winner of the Premio Nacional de Poesía Ramón López Velarde and the Premio Dolores Castro en Poesía. She also held a FONCA fellowship for younger artists through the Fondo Nacional para la Culturas y las Artes/National Fund for Arts and Culture and has published five books.

About the Translator

Allison A. deFreese is based in the US Pacific Northwest. She coordinates multi-language literary translation workshops for the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters. Her recent translations include María Negroni’s Elegy for Joseph Cornell (Dublin: Dalkey Archive Press) and selected poems from Verónica González Arredondo’s I Am Not That Body (Montreal: Pub House Books). Her translations also appear in Arkansas International, Asymptote, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, New England Review, and Waxwing.

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