July 24, 2019KR OnlinePoetryTranslation

The Mé’pháá Voice; The Rooster; Where the Izote Sings

Translated from Mé’pháá and Spanish by Juana Adcock

The Mé’pháá Voice

From the blood of another forest
my ashen hand in your moon footprint,
in your frozen waist,
the ruffling of barefoot birds.

In your belly—my roaming in wild silence,
in your belly—the ripening of fire,
the sustenance of limestone.

From you, I come as land, I come as people,
I come as a mournful word, as a tender stalk,
a yellow ache in your leaf,
a’gó agú gón’ (moon fire woman).

House of the flesh that speaks,
from the edge transpires the history where you offered your blood,
under the great storm, your back,
stone of air lizards,
á’g’o rajúun agú (fire tongue woman).

I, spit-covered chrysaloid,
in your amber eyes I dressed the night in colors.
in one gulp I swallowed down the insects that multiplied mountains
so our word would sleep.

The Rooster

The rooster said to me:
My voice will grow day by day
until your heart trembles
and you no longer keep your head down.

Don’t be afraid if you reach another town,
if the mountain dresses you
and you get tangled up in another language.

Respect the cicada
that they buried in your throat,
the veins in your arm
given to you by the pumpkin for being playful.

Each morning I crow at the world:
I don’t want any brother walked over.
The stars must hear
how your arm gives strength to the land you were given.
Never sell the few flowers
where your parents wept
nor the path of the deer that the grandmother taught you.

If there is blood,
so will there be bullets to defend what’s ours.

Where the Izote Sings

I will open up the earth to sow your absence,
I will tear off the arms of the day
to give as an offering to the hummingbirds’ tree.
You went away, on the road next-door,
where the izote sings and the wood is carved by birds.

There, in the face of another language,
in the ear of another flesh,
fell the ashes that licked the nostalgia of your flight.

My people, leaf of oblivion,
house where you wake in the dew.

Photo of Hubert Matiuwaa
Hubert Matiúwàa (b. 1986 in Guerrero, Mexico) is a poet writing in the Mè’phàà language. He has received numerous awards, including the 2017 PLIA (Indigenous Literatures of America Prize). He is the author of Xtámbaa/Piel de Tierra (2016), Tsína rí nàyaxà’/Cicatriz que te mira (2017) and Mañuwìín/Cordel torcido (2018).

Juana Adcock is an Anglo-Mexican poet and translator based in Glasgow, Scotland. She has translated Giuseppe Caputo, Gabriela Wiener, Diego Enrique Osorno, Juan Rulfo, and David Huerta, among others. She is the author of Manca (2014) and Split (forthcoming in 2019).