Avenido 18 de Julio by Laura Chalar, translated by Erica Mena

if walt whitman were here, how he would sing of them and sing to them with the deep voice of a street prophet, dedicating the hymn of his long grey vigil to the dark flock of the gentle poor, ant-citizens, his hand touching the woman who waits at the bus stop, the policeman, the scavenger, the law clerk in his exhausted shoes, the begging children, the begging elderly, the fat salesgirls, the kids spilling out of the law school, the garrapiñero, the watchband seller, the half-blind lottery ticket seller, the supreme court judge who is running late again, the man who just bought a smart phone, the woman who recites poems on the bus, the shoeshiner, the people handing out flyers for loan sharks or massage parlors, and me, who watches it all with the love of someone who is bound to leave, someone who is already leaving.
Laura Chalar was born in Montevideo in 1976. She is a lawyer, poet and translator. Her books include the story collections El discreto encanto de la abogacía and El vuelo del pterodáctilo and the poetry collections por así decirlo and Por qué los poetas ingleses quieren morir en Italia. Her poems have appeared in Palabras Errantes, Interim and the Notre Dame Review.
Erica Mena is a poet, translator and book artist. Her book-length poem Featherbone is available from Ricochet Editions. Her translations include the Argentine graphic novel The Eternaut by H.G. Oesterheld and Francisco Solano López. She is the managing director of the American Literary Translators Association and the founding editor of Anomalous Press.