Violeta Orozco – Pico de Pajaro – translated by the Author

I must write about my mother.
Because writing about mothers
is setting history straight
cuentas claras
amistades largas,
a saying of my time
my longest friendships did not last long
the time with my mother did not last either
but whatever could the beak 
say to the bird that feeds it?
It barely lasted, as much as she 
gave me her time
and time and time again
I asked her for more love love me
suckle me take me with you
don’t go please stay sit down with me come
I need a tree to embrace when my hands 
fill up with fear and I lose the ability to sleep
when I call for it the way I call for you
At times I still dream
burglars break into the house
to take you away
and they leave me alone in a house
without a mother.
What is a house without a mother?
What is a daughter without a mother?

Tengo que escribir sobre mi madre.
Porque escribir sobre la madre
es pedirle cuentas a la historia.
Cuentas claras.
Amistades largas.
Era un dicho de mi tiempo.
Duraban poco, mis amistades largas
duró poco el tiempo con mi madre.
¿Pero qué podría decirle
el pico de un pájaro al pájaro que la alimenta?
Duró poco, por más
que me dio mi tiempo
y su tiempo y el tiempo
le pedí más ámame amamántame llévame contigo
no te vayas ven, siéntate ven,
necesito un árbol para abrazar cuando las manos
se me llenan de miedo y no llega el sueño
cuando lo llamo como tú
todavía sueño
que se meten a la casa a sacarte
y me dejan sola con la casa sin la madre.
¿Qué es una casa sin madre?
¿Qué es una hija sin madre?

Macondo Writers workshop fellow Violeta Orozco (Mexico City, 1989) and Winner of Jacar Press’ New Voices Poetry Award 2021, selected by Jaki Shelton Green for her second poetry collection, Stillness in the Land of Speed. She is also the author of The Broken Woman Diaries (Andante Books 2022) and El Cuarto de la Luna (Literal, 2020). A MeChicana bilingual writer, Latina poet, performer and spoken word artist from Mexico City, she uses poetry to create literary events that center circles of women, communal healing and transnational alliances. She has a monthly column in Nueva York Poetry Review featuring Latina and Chicana poets that she translates into Spanish. She holds an M.A. from Rutgers University and currently studies her Ph.D. in Creative Writing, Translation and Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Cincinnati. In addition to Cincinnati, she has lived in Athens, Ohio.