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from the March 2010 issue

Roosters and Bones

If when night falls in the kitchen
Someone leans over
To look in the sink, he will see
That the rooster’s bones
Are much less white.
The reason is that they don’t remain clean
Marked forever
By the dark
Meat that surrounded them
While the animal was walking
Or until later
When one
Supplied or not with instruments
Ripped the meat
And left the rooster’s
Bone out in the open.

Compared with those of a cow or a lamb
The rooster’s bones are birds
Of darkness
Uncovered and silent
They are of an inert shrewdness
Injected into eyes that hold
A limited shine, cloudy and opaque.
Upon seeing the bones in disorder
Like a jumble of leftovers
One thinks of the voracity
The very ferocity of the rooster
While its sharpened eyes
Hold their gaze
And they swear something
A destiny of rest
To be obeyed
When one of the two
At last fulfills
The promise of annihilation.

When someone less
Or more weary dumps
The dishes into the sink
The leftovers will remain
Of the roast, of the lamb
Of the ribs or of the rooster’s wings
Which radiate every night
Their opaque luster
And just barely brilliant
A bit inconsistent, because
The rooster’s bones tend
To become dark among the white
And stronger ones of cows
And other sacrificed animals.

On certain bright nights one can see
Through the windows the bones beating
Iridescent alien
To the circumstance
Like souls
Faintly inspired by a fickle dream
They are the leftovers forgotten
Some time ago in the sink
Without appetite, without attention or strength.

Considering the size of the world
Roosters will always be
Small animals
But when the rooster waits
On the plate
With its bones hidden
Before handing over its dark meat
Which tastes like wild prey
Which scrapes the gums
The animal has lost courage
And it made of its size, its trace
An inferior question, of vain
Transcendence, an affable memory
That ignores
If the events happened
Before or after
Appearing as a memory.


Whoever has seen the triangular
Backside of the rooster
And the elongated neck
That turns into the breast
Doesn’t imagine its bones
Mixed up and resting
Over the years
Awaiting the light
That at night sets them apart
From the others congregated
In the sink
Of the cow or the lamb.


Whoever has eaten
On a daily basis their food
And separated the bones
In all likelihood without realizing it,
Whoever has eaten their food
Every day, separating the bones
Without remembering the rooster
Or the other animal
In all likelihood without realizing it
Receives, like a sudden blow,
The surprise
When he observes the ossuary
That sleeps in the kitchen, the heart
Of the sink like a well
Of indefinite depth
And silhouettes without form
Faintly exposed by the moon


No one was capable of imagining
The bones mixed up
In the jumble
Neither could the one who ate see
From the edge of the cockpit
The future, which awaited the rooster
Even if its eyes, livid,
Were already accustomed to
Drawing the diagonal, two points
Of equal brilliance
Like marks from similar pencils
On a white sheet of paper


Whoever has seen the rooster’s
Neck turn into bone
After knowing it erect
Or palpating
Isn’t going to believe
When he finds it broken
And disarmed
In individual links
Half hidden
Among bigger bones
And whiter ones taking
A nap in the bone yard.
On occasion, when eating rooster
One imagines that something solid
Pierces a gum
Firm like a new tooth
Searching for its place
At first it believes
That it’s a neck, for example,
A vertebra sunken
In the insatiable mouth
When in all reality it’s
The memory of the spur
That missing, continues to cut


The emptiness of the plate
And the bones waiting
Reminds one of the silence
Of the rooster
When it thinks and doesn’t suffer
Concentrating on its things
In the darkness
Not hungry
Staring firmly
Ready to fulfill the oath
Of suppression
Thrown at it since times past.
We will never know what it is thinking
The rooster, when deep
In its own anxiety
The animal forbids its eyes
From being seen
It makes no movements
It obliges us to retreat from
Its sight, leaving it
At peace to think
Or whatever

From Gallos y huesos, Santiago Arcos Editor, Buenos Aires, 2003. Copyright Sergio Chejfec. Translation copyright Elizabeth Polli. All rights reserved.


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