from Calque 5
Roberto Echavarren, "AMOR DE MADRE"
Translated from the Spanish by Ben Bollig


Roca, eco, arena seca;
corre del barranco
agua candente: cada grano
de mica al sol, papila, broto, piedra,
lengua reseca, recoge polvo
del talud que baja. Llaga removida
sube a la nube, vapor hoy,
chubasco, quién sabe. Lamo salpicaduras.
A pleno sol un soldado cruza la calle;
tuvo más paciencia que yo:
arrastraba el uniforme (paso a paso).
El sol nació en mi corazón (por un momento).
Relegado por la madre a una vida subalterna,
nació lejos de su corazón reservado a otro.
El caso (no obstante) vuelve disponible
una fresca aventura: árboles sobre piedras
al costado del camino dan sombra;
agua murmura en la bomba.



ROCK, echo, hard sand;
from the ravine runs
white-hot water: each grain
of mica in the sun, bud, shoot, stone,
sere mouth, collects dust
from the sloping screen. Gouged wound
rises to the sky, vapour today,
downpour who knows when. I lick the splashings.
A soldier crosses the street in full sunshine;
he had more patience than I have:
he dragged his uniform (step by step).
The sun was born in my heart (for a moment).
Cast down by the mother to a subaltern role,
born far from its heart saved for another.
The case (however) makes available
a fresh adventure: trees among stones
alongside the path cast shadows;
water murmurs in the hose.


Roberto Echavarren was born in Uruguay, and studied in Germany and Paris, before taking posts teaching Latin American and Comparative Literature at London and then New York University. Currently, he divides his time between Montevideo and Buenos Aires. He has published a series of books of poetry, as well as novels and essays, including important texts of the neobarroco, art, and androgyny. He wrote and co-directed the film Casino atlántico (1989). He was one of the editors of the key anthology of contemporary Latin American poetry, Medusario (1996). He is also an accomplished translator.

Ben Bollig is Lecturer in Spanish at the University of Leeds. His books include Néstor Perlongher. The Poetic Search for an Argentine Marginal Voice (University of Wales Press/ University of Chicago Press, 2008) and, edited with Pablo San Martín, 31. A Bilingual Anthology of Saharawi Resistance Poetry in Spanish. He is an editor of Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies and is one of the coordinators of the Poetics of Resistance research network.


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