Translation Poets

[But I, daughter of my daughters]


But I, daughter of my daughters, will dismantle by sheer dazzle this unfortunate conformity of a yolanda émigrée. I, the sterile sovereign, egotist by misadventure. I must weigh the exact dose of memory and oblivion. So I see the path with a view from behind. All the dark roots that are born in me. There is no direction that does not contain me, race that does not rise in me and armies of cyphers reaching for me with primitive fingers. I study my steps. Like a forest of symbols I cannot fathom. Much shedding of skin though I never wished to arrive. Meagre garden, wind trapped in the hands, infinite grid. I renounce the home of this breath. I wish I knew how to leave.


For a long time an animal has fattened on the glut of oblivion. But I am the ventriloquist, I, the lunatic tyrant, the illiterate. With the magnificent book of adventures crouched in the vulva. She who understood nothing but felt all. I am the ventriloquist, she who runs singing through the leaden corridors with a voice of slate. Abortion was a duty, a serious necessity, a defiance. So that the pale robe of my memory might cloak itself in the skin I would become. You see every night devotedly I write rapturous love letters and at daybreak eulogies to this greedy yolanda, who knows how to sell herself and knows where it will end.


It is me in the crypt and my name etched inside with chalk. Concentric rooms. That my intellect may not bribe my sense. The touch, the privilege, the need to hurl oneself. Nor will my head pander to my pride. Yolanda the soldier, the trader. Because neither am I a woman who waits. I am the driver of the flaming chariot. An egotist because she is solo. I have a pain that is pleasure because this beauty will found dynasties. And then with the meticulous attention of an ascetic I will reclaim those miniscule and charmed fragments of broken mirror that I am. Yolanda will build me a hovel in the world between her arms and I will learn there the secret happiness of being home.


Behold the last coming when the feminine will be made Word. I will proclaim: “I am the sole scion of Adnaloy, she who will stretch her flaming fingers over the horizon, who will descend, discard her gown, clothe herself in sackcloth, and thereafter lie down, rendering her heart to the appetite of beasts.”



Translated by Lawrence Schimel

This poem is recited by Rebecca Gayle Howell


[But I, daughter of my daughters] is from Yo es otro. Autorretratos de la Nueva Poesía [I Is Other. Self-Portraits of New Poetry] (Barcelona, DVD Ediciones, 2001).


You can read and listen to the poem in the original Galician here, and in Spanish here.