“By Way of Speaking,” by Waldo Leyva Portal (Translation from the Spanish)

Friends
memory is death
there’s something cemeteric in these flowers
too much silence
and too little light.

Here it’s impossible to speak with Camilo
because there’s a lot of chairs
and the windows are missing.

Where in these corners could a seed be buried
what guitar can resonate here
what subterranean river
can break the rocks of this room
what horse could gallop between these walls.

In the street
to speak from every roof
from every possible balcony
what the world speaks
to let every child play with his beard
to let every woman have a satisfactory pregnancy
to let songs be sung among us.

In the street
the days passed in our eyes
we were at the breaking point of heaven
searching for sombreros everywhere
in this way Camilo
was a hole in the chest of the Island
he searched in the sea
over land
along those paths where his footprints
are still sunk into the mud
and when the insane sirens sounded
announcing his return
who among us didn’t go out into the street
to see the people smiling
those that neither knew nor embraced
the land becoming so small
from so much fire.

I remember my grandmother kneeling at the altar
crying
kissing the images of saints
staring at every candle in house
because Camilo had appeared in a cave
beard down to his belt
and his broken feet
still walking bare.

I remember the children
naked in a downpour
running with their huge toy horses between their legs
because Camilo was coming back
after he’d been killed a thousand times
riding a horse bigger than a train.
They wanted to fool us
but in the street
they’re still sounding the sirens!

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