A WORD

Gabriela Mistral

I have a word in my throat
and I don’t let her go, I don’t get rid of her
even with all the blood pushing
If I released her, I would burn pastures,
bleed lambs, birds would fall.

I must loosen it from this language,
find a beaver hole,
bury it with lime and mortar
so that it doesn’t keep the flight as the soul.

I don’t want to show signs that I’m alive
while circulating through my blood
and go up and down in my crazy breath.
Although my father Job, on fire, said it,
I don’t want to give you my poor mouth
so that women do not find her
who go to the river, get attached to their braids
or get caught up in the poor undergrowth.

Violent seeds I will throw at you,
so that one night cover and drown her
without leaving a trace of a syllable.
Or destroy it like that, like the viper
breaks into two pieces between the teeth.

And come home, go in, sleep,
already isolated, separate from it,
and wake up after two thousand days,
newborn in sleep and forgetfulness.

Without knowing, ah !, that I had a word
made of iodine and alum between the lips,
nor can I remember one night,
from an address in a foreign country,
of the trap or lightning on the door,
my flesh to walk without your soul.

  • Gabriela Mistral, from the book “Lagar” – in “Anthology poetic Gabriela Mistral”. [sel., trad., and presentation, by Fernando Pinto do Amaral]. Lisbon: Editorial Teorema, 2002.

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