Ana Merino

Children’s Work


At the crosswalks

a hand smiles

palm extended

the gaze is glassed over

from glue and dreams.


They wash our windows

with soapy water

and mouths smile

with crooked teeth

and swollen lips.


On the sidewalks

the dragons are children

their fire has a bitter taste,

they only fly at night

stuffing their heads

into paper bags.


With cans of paint

they imagine time

decorating the walls

of a jailed infancy.


In the heart of the round-a-bouts

misfortunes pile up,

they mound up in plastic bags

and the children stare at us

with snake eyes.


Their prison is the street

their hangman the speed

of the cars that pass by.



Translated by Elizabeth Polli

“Children’s Work” is from Cell Mate (Harbor Mountain Press, 2007).


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