Wendy Guerra – A Portfolio of Poetry – translated by Nancy Naomi Carlson and Esperanza Hope Snyder


In the showers of men we leave our bodies
tied well to the solar pipes
We mark our territory like animals in heat
our panties saturated with sand and a sidereal isolating odor 
Remains of the sex we had yesterday left behind in bathrooms
rose water and wax drippings from vanilla-scented candles  
Broken tears in the profane lace of dawn
My earrings have disappeared    lost in the soap of a brief lust 
and Sir    the creams anoint your sheets    like venom from silvered goddesses
Watch how we snatch freedom from their minds
We open blame under the expanded umbrella of the afternoon  
We return with their children withholding the real names of their genes  
In delicates we read our pages pursuing only their desire
each line of rice is a moan 
Can I hide under my hats   without being found?
Can they guess?
A tunic and a shield that would dodge love’s blows 
There is more under the hat    I swear 
On the bed I assemble the puzzle of words  
a white planar surface for skating in the nude    black delicates without pain
and even if I say it all    it would not reach your senses intact
You don’t understand    You would have to learn to undress me
We leave the anthropology of a grievous colonization
a colonization close to this weak culture    strong    insecure    exiled sex
I read the lines the editor underscores but don’t smoke
I can’t allay my anxiety    and can no longer forget what I have lived
In your bathroom still linger my potions    my essences    my slipstream    my stampede
I keep a train    a calla lily    a dragonfly 
and the picture of my back taken while I slept
I’m not lace    nor seashell nor evil 
it’s not only what you see    because I’ve left
My ideas are more profound than the backs you see in museums
I am my writing and what I try to hide    in danger of surviving
delicates in another bathroom’s bottle   another humidity    so much cold
Coats don’t exist   they are given away to the other woman I was in an unconnected ritual
there’s no snow in this country and even if I were to break down and eternally weep 
Only in delicates    do I manage to save myself   
I leave my writings in your house but there’s more 
more frivolous and profound   more pagan
I write on mirrors and you find yourself 
swimming in this false oblivion 
You snooping around inside my handbag
diving into the past like a boy 
You only see:
childhood photos with my mother.


                       I descend from the misty heavens
                          in white flakes of iridescent snow
                                 JULIÁN DEL CASAL

Under the blanket the remains of my virginity shipwreck 
purity and doubt 
Havana dawns    slightly cooler than my eyes
A snow toy for the devious girl 
who goes to school disguised as the devil
You’ve left abandonment confused    the city dead
I carry on in the empty streets
and no longer wait for you because it’s very late
And even though it may seem strange    we are alive in the usual zoo
I’ve discovered myself anchored in the epistolary fiesta of your lies.
I recover the inspiration of my longhand and now narrate the landscape 
excluding you
only in loss does one find what was hoped for
a mollusk and a slab of gannet frozen by the ice
I plunge my body into the beach’s clairvoyance
and shatter the paralysis of fear en pointe
A snow-covered pier    a space flooded with doubt

I write letters in the ardor of time
and discover myself in a luminary drawing
I shatter the paralysis of my stanzas
Now I can only find you skiing
From the deep Caribbean without any news
I float on a profound misunderstanding of snow in my own city
under my own skirt
I wait for the sun since rowing is no longer possible
I cut my hands sliding on the white 
A port is an exit to the world...not an ice rink
A stay dislocated in winters  
A new labyrinth that I learn and forget
If I now attempt to die under the snow
Havana saves me from the void.


I can’t be your equal.
My plate of food was different from the cousins’
Morphologically I sprinkle essentials like novel cocine
My adult mannerisms gave away what I would become
Alone in apartments    reading    while the bicycles were someone else’s 
and the dolls as cold as buying oneself a child 
I can’t be what you ask    I wasn’t mother and father was absence
I used to belong to an unofficial world    I didn’t show up in statistics or social rankings
I didn’t have a famous last name
I don’t remember a single birthday cake populated with a single candle
My mother was the diatribe between families
A rebel shield in the harmony of her archangel hands
She asked the cards which grew silent faced with estrangement
Once again they don’t let me through to the next family
Once again a woman from the outside is kept from living among so many old       
   people    former acquaintances
Royalty is not an ideal place for this strange girl
Je suis déclassée    c’est la vie
And that’s how they’ll start letting me in    as they can
I defend myself and don the armor that may protect this pain
The black sheep in the concert hall populated with white animals
Don’t ask me to believe in all of you    this is me
Letting in is not accepting    never forget it.