Summer 2023 • Vol. XLV No. 1 Poetry |

Ashes

To Néstor Perlongher There are ashes that fly in the tropics. There are ashes that dissolve beneath a mere wingbeat. There are ashes that dissipate like a breath in the abyss. There are ashes lost in the cold of a whirlwind. There are ashes that touch between two bodies that once loved each other. There are ashes that fit in the palm of your hand. There are ashes that you must forget and bury in the snow like a deer’s corpse. There are ashes beneath your body. Beyond all else, there are ashes. In the night, there are ashes. In the devastation, there are ashes. In the charred trunk of the almond tree, there are ashes. Wherever you look, as a kind of reconciliation, there are ashes. Repetition is a much-frequented formula as is the metaphor every time you say, “There are ashes.” This is because there are ashes. When everything tangible is gone in a sigh, then there will be ashes. And should you write something to lessen the possibility of anguish, no moon shall light your way

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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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