Three Poems by Miguel Avero, translated by Jona Colson

Sawdust Ark


They will discover you
a thousand times after digging
in the past.

Whoever or whomever
it may belong to,
it will be yours
the sleeping rib,
the skeleton scattered
among the ancient mountains.

It is yesterday
the mythical space of your existence.
Orphan of present and future.

Although in you settled
the mother of all the rains,
and between all the faces you saw
the darkest
masks of the sky

under a range of storms,
whoever it may belong to,
it will be yours
the half-buried body.

The blue jaws
could never devour you
any more than the rain crackled
like an endless fire.

Noise and fear
in the heart of the houses,
the timbers punished
by hooves and moss,

everything is in the sand
legend and sawdust.





Look and without thinking
your eyes squint before endless
spilled caresses.

The bread started crumbling.

There are mouths and there are none
where the inconceivable hand
distributes it.
I’m there,

I can chew the salt and smile
before a shattered window,
in front of the broken fragments
in the grass.

Eyes climb
an endless assembly
with no chasms of clarity.
The same mud
reaches us all.

We are silent witnesses
of this rush,

as if they were not
nailing into the skin,
as if they were not stakes
plunging into the earth.




Dawn is gray
and this love
and this pain
and this memory
is gray.

Feel the loneliness
fall from that armored
vault drop by drop.
The wandering rain
and now
the rain is gray.

But why so much past?
Why remember standing on such a day?

While outside
the sky falls
without stopping,

running down the windows,
the stinging metals
of the rain,
its liquid steel,
its gray curtain.

Gray is the wrapping of oblivion
and all that is lost is gray.


Miguel Avero was born and lives in Montevideo, Uruguay. His books include Arca de Aserrín, Micaela Moon, Que Nadie Preguntate Por Ti and La Pieza. He has written for the Cuban literary journal Claustrophobias. His work appears in the anthology América invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets (University of New Mexico Press, 2016).

Jona Colson’s poetry has appeared in The Southern Review, Subtropics, The Massachusetts Review, and other journals . He teaches at Montgomery College in Maryland and lives in Washington, D.C. His translations of Miguel Avero also appear in America invertida: An Anthology of Emerging Uruguayan Poets (University of New Mexico Press, 2016).