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.