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Abuela, San Miguel de Allende, MX

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Photography

Lawrence Bridges

BEN

Ana M. Fores Tamayo

When she was in severe labor the midwife said to her, 'Do not fear, for now you have another son.’ It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.

—Genesis 35: 17-18


She looked at her foot

as it rested against

the greyed broken tiles

of the dirtied floor.

It blurred with the pinkish-grey

              of that room

and her foot danced.


She was in heaven,

as the sky twirled about her,

the clouds white against the brilliant sun.


Ecstasy in the dance,

she flew in his arms,

her lips flashing smile.

Laughing throaty voice of passion

She murmured yes.

Yes.


And she knew that time

was lost within her,

engulfing her in void.


Black.


The black of an ugly cat,

gnarled fur falling,

patches of disease breaking its skin

and bones showing,

sickness moving its body

slowly across the

paved            hot             tar


Screeching of the brakes and blood

Splattered

Scream of death.


She cried yes.

She cried no.

And her foot slowly cramped

as she moved it.


Struggling

she felt her pulse

once more.


So she limped,

walking ’cross the floor,

out into the air,

the stifling heat returning.

She looked at her feet.

They pounced across the pavement,


The            hot             tar              melting.


An interpretation, not a translation

(because translation is never poetry)


Benjamín


Y aconteció, que como había trabajo en su parir, díjole la partera: No temas, que también tendrás este hijo. Y acaeció que al salírsele el alma (pues murió), llamó su nombre Benoni; mas su padre lo llamó Benjamín.

—Génesis 35: 17-18


Observaba el pie

que descansaba contra

los azulejos rotos y grises

del sucio piso.

Su piel se confundía con el gris-rosado

del salón

mientras su cuerpo bailaba.


Se sentía en el cielo

y el paraíso giraba,

nubes blancas contra un sol brillante.


Éxtasis en el baile,

volaba en sus brazos,

labios sonriendo.

Una risa gutural, voz de pasión

Murmuraba sí.

Sí.


Y supo que el tiempo

estaba perdido dentro de ella,

envolviéndola en el vacío.


Negro.


El negro de un gato feo,

nudoso pelaje cayendo,

parches de enfermedad rompiendo su piel

y huesos mostrándose,

enfermedad moviendo su cuerpo

lentamente a través del

caliente           pavimento      de           alquitrán.


Chirrido de frenos y sangre

Salpicando

Grito de muerte.


Llora que sí.

Llora que no.


Y su pie lentamente se encoge

al moverlo.


Luchando,

siente su pulso

una vez más.


Entonces cojea,

caminando despacio al cruzar el piso,

hacia afuera, al aire libre,

el sofocante calor regresando.


Se mira los pies.

Y se lanzan sobre el pavimento,

El           hirviendo           alquitrán           derritiéndose.

Being an academic not paid enough for her trouble, Ana Fores Tamayo wanted instead to do something that mattered: work with asylum seekers.  She advocates for marginalized refugee families from Mexico and Central America.  Working with asylum seekers is heart wrenching, yet satisfying.  In parallel, poetry is her escape.  She has published in The Raving Press, Laurel Review, Indolent Books, and many other anthologies and journals, both online and in print. Her poetry in translation and photography have been featured at home and internationally too. Through poetry, she keeps tilting at windmills.

Lawrence Bridges is best known for work in the film and literary world. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and The Tampa Review. He has published three volumes of poetry: Horses on Drums, Flip Days, and Brownwood. As a filmmaker, he created a series of literary documentaries for the NEA’s “Big Read” initiative, which include profiles of Ray Bradbury, Amy Tan, Tobias Wolff, and Cynthia Ozick.