Mosquitoes by Francisco Urondo translated by Julia Leverone


Reach out and startle them.

Hear me out: they’re hungry insects;
she, the first woman we ever had
and scarcely recognize, now; those
are the years we have forgotten on a train.
The only thing left for them is threat
and drowsiness, a simple hope.

Load onto my back what you have carved
from my chest.


Extiende la mano y espanta esos mosquitos.

Favoréceme: son insectos hambrientos, es la primera mujer que hemos tenido y apenas reconocemos
ahora; son los años que hemos olvidado en algún tren: sólo les queda la amenaza, el sopor y
una simple esperanza.

Carga sobre mi espalda lo que has abolido de mi pecho.

Julia Leverone is in St. Louis pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at Washington University. Her poems and translations have appeared in Sugar House Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Asymptote, and are forthcoming in Poetry International and Modern Poetry in Translation. She is Poetry Co-Editor for Sakura Review. 

Francisco Urondo (1930-1976) was a prolific Argentine poet, intellectual, and activist. Urondo pushed literary conventions to give way to a conversational, frank style of writing that witnessed and accused, demanded acknowledgement and memory, and fought against the silence and the turmoil in his country. He was assassinated by the Argentine state.