Ana Merino

Child’s Play


Traffic spreads through

the small neighborhoods that the highway crosses.

The streets with medians

are now tributaries of a large asphalt river.

Still and silent

the houses along the way digest their bitterness.

From the dignity of the attic apartments

the children play,

pretending that cars are space ships

and the road a cosmic route

where mercenaries await their victims.


Loneliness and glass,

no child is visible behind the windows,

velvet drapes serve as hiding places,

their reality is dressed up like a far-off galaxy.

Their fears seem like the flavor of other fears,                        

their parents have lost their way,

their grandparents care for them with prayers and sighs,

and a stray bullet grazes their innocence

leaving a mark on the wall.

Their childhood invents itself

at every moment

of possible death

and silent luck

saving their lives.


 Translated by Elizabeth Polli

“Child’s Play” is from Child’s Play (Harbor Mountain Press, 2012).


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