everything I want to tell you son Is that you should go through suffering 
         If you come to its shore if its shore comes to you Enter its night 
                               
and let yourself 
                                                                                                
sink 
                   
its gulp may drink you down its foam overwhelm you Let go let yourself go 
Everything I want to tell you son On the other side of suffering 
                                                                         
Another shore lies 
there you will find great stone slabs One of these bears your carved form 
             
etched with your ancient mark Where you in your fullness will
                                   fit exactly 

these are not tombs son They are standing stones with their small 
                                                                              
engraved suns 
                                                           
and their crevices and cracks 

 

"Piedras de reposo," originally published in Cuerpo y Paréntesis del estupor, Mexico: Mantis Editores/ Universidad de Nuevo Léon, 2011. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2014 by Catherine Hammond

todo lo que quiero decirte hijo Es que atravieses el sufrimiento
Si llegas a su orilla si su orilla te llega Entra en su noche y déjate
                                                                                            hundir
que su sorbo te beba que su espuma te agobie Déjate ir déjate ir

Todo lo que quiero decirte hijo Es que del otro lado del sufrimiento
                                                                                   Hay otra orilla
encontrarás allí grandes lajas Una de ellas lleva tu forma tallada
con tu antigua huella labrada Donde cabrás exacto y con anchura

no son tumbas hijo son piedras de reposo Con sus pequeños soles
                                                                                         [grabados
                                                                                  /y sus rendijas

(Del libro Cuerpo y Paréntesis del estupor. México: Mantis Editores/Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, 2001.  p. 43).




María Auxiliadora ÁlvarezMaría Auxiliadora Álvarez

María Auxiliadora Álvarez (Caracas, 1956) is a poet and scholar. Her poems are born in that tenuous frontier between body and experience, memory and desire, violence and humility. She is widely read in poetic circles in Latin America, especially but not only by women poets. Her fifteen books of poems, some of them previously unpublished, have been collected and published in Spain (Las nadas y las noches, Candaya, 2009). Álvarez is also a distinguished scholar, and has lectured and taught at Miami University (Ohio), University of Illinois, and UNAM (Mexico). She currently lives in Oxford, Ohio. 

Translated from SpanishSpanish by Catherine HammondCatherine Hammond

Catherine Hammond has a BA in Spanish from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA from Arizona State University in creative writing. Poems translated from Olvido García Valdés’ collection And We Were All Alive / Y todos estábamos vivos appear as a chapbook, House Surrounded by Scaffold, from Mid-American Review. She also has translations in American Poetry Review, Field, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Drunken Boat, and many other national magazines. Hammond’s own poetry has been anthologized in Fever Dreams:  Contemporary Arizona Poetry from University of Arizona Press, in MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism, and in Yellow Silk from Warner Books.  She has three Pushcart nominations.