Summer 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 Poetry |

As the Forest Burned

To Rocío My friend may have died, Oh! Glory of the air and of dreams: We slumber and about us the world perishes covered in dew!  — Javier Heraud The mountains ignite like enormous wicks of black earth, as the flames devour the eucalyptus. The day is a scalding, unbearable bubble baking the asphalt. We’d all held a small hope like a rubber ball between our hands. But death comes and goes, and traipses around our heads building a sad and painful nest: a nest in reverse, a home in reverse. Then comes the announcement, amid this unparalleled luminosity, that your life is over, and that no one — not even God —  can detain this chaos, this unbearable absence. The tears somewhat soothe  —  misery dripping over ashes —  the anguish of not knowing if you live. In other words, the earth is now distant from you / or is yours and your body is cloud / or stone. In other words, once more, we’re remembered, we’re alone. The city burns, no ill

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Santiago Vizcaíno is an Ecuadorian writer who has published poetry, short stories, novels, and essays. He currently directs the Publications Center at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. In 2020 and 2021 he curated the Quito International Book Fair, and in 2022 he served as juror for the Casa de las Américas Award in Cuba. These translations are taken from his most recent publication, a poetry collection titled El viento a contrapelo de mi sombra (The wind against my shadow).

Kimrey Anna Batts is originally from East Tennessee. Following graduation from the University of Michigan, she moved to Ecuador, where she lived for many years. She currently resides in Mexico, where she works as a freelance translator and dutiful servant to five cats and two dogs. Her translations of Latin American poetry and fiction have appeared in a variety of literary journals, and her full-length publications include translations of works by Santiago Vizcaíno, Antonio Ramos Revillas, and César Eduardo Carrión.

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