From Única Looking at the Sea

From Única Looking at the Sea

An excerpt from Única Looking at the Sea, by Fernando Contreras Castro, translated by Elaine S. Brooks; the opening:

More from long habit than any other principle of order in the world, the sun began to rise, hesitating along the edge of the hill, as if at the last minute it had decided to light one more day instead of rushing into the abyss of the previous night.

All quiet on the Western front, the flies were yawning and the buzzards were shaking the early morning leftovers from their wings.

In the persistent drizzle and the toxic vapors from that unchanging sea, the night divers took a tally of the cargo extracted from the depths. Before the day divers arrived to add their arm strokes, the night divers hustled to sort out from their haul the edible and the sellable items. The second category included aluminum cans, glass bottles, all types of paper and other metals, for which the smelters scarcely paid more.

The day divers were just beginning to awaken, still stretching and yawning when they opened the doors to their makeshift shacks on the shantytown’s beaches bursting from the sea of plastic fish.

Those who were coming from afar readied themselves once again to ascend the fossilized clay hill that led to the last stop of the city’s bad conscience.

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An Excerpt from The Virgin Mountain

An Excerpt from The Virgin Mountain

From The Virgin Mountain, by Roberto Echavarren, translated by Donald Wellman and the author.

A doll of rough wood

carved with a knife,

dressed in sky blue

red flowers with yellow center

and yellow with red center,

stars that are flowers, 

she even has panties, a small square

of cloth glued to the perineum,

shawl with embroidered edging

in zigzag, X, Greek Y,

orange and green head strap,

around her neck and that of her son

light green trimming,

one foot in the air,

the leg raised

takes a step.


The rainbow, is it a sign?

asked the enraptured English tourist;

yes, the Tarahumara woman answered: 

it’s a sign that it might rain, or not.

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