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Poetry

A Memory

By Miren Agur Meabe
Translated from Basque by Amaia Gabantxo

They told us to be careful, that men would do nasty things to us at the smallest slip-up.  The saying carried the sound of sewer waters, of something dirty, and dark, like forest tracks. Despite this, we let it nestle in our mouths, to have a feel of its viscous, foreign nature.

In hallways, sprawled under weak light bulbs, the hard coldness of the floor tiles traveled up our buttocks, and we pressed our legs tight to conjure up a spark from our rosy pearl. We checked the limpets on our chests. We licked teaspoons.

Right after we would pull up our white socks and run through the streets, schoolbook satchels to the wind. Our knees were trusting doves; the ribbons in our hair, delicious bait.

And we kept silent. We let the days pass is all, waited, until the moment came to let someone touch us. 

 

“Oroitzapen bat” © Miren Agur Meabe. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2017 by Amaia Gabantxo. All rights reserved.

English Basque

They told us to be careful, that men would do nasty things to us at the smallest slip-up.  The saying carried the sound of sewer waters, of something dirty, and dark, like forest tracks. Despite this, we let it nestle in our mouths, to have a feel of its viscous, foreign nature.

In hallways, sprawled under weak light bulbs, the hard coldness of the floor tiles traveled up our buttocks, and we pressed our legs tight to conjure up a spark from our rosy pearl. We checked the limpets on our chests. We licked teaspoons.

Right after we would pull up our white socks and run through the streets, schoolbook satchels to the wind. Our knees were trusting doves; the ribbons in our hair, delicious bait.

And we kept silent. We let the days pass is all, waited, until the moment came to let someone touch us. 

 

“Oroitzapen bat” © Miren Agur Meabe. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2017 by Amaia Gabantxo. All rights reserved.

Oroitzapen bat

Kontuz ibiltzeko esaten ziguten, pittin bat deskuidatu orduko gizonek gauza txarrak egingo zizkigutela. Abisu horrek estoldetako ura zeukan bere soinuan, zikina zen zerbait, eta iluna, basoko bidezidorrak bezalakoa. Hala ere, gure ahoetan pausatzen uzten genion, arroztasunaren likistasuna sentitzeko.

Atarietan, bonbilla mengelen azpian etzanda, ipurmamiak zeharkatzen zizkigun harlauzen gogortasun hotzak, eta hankak estutzen genituen bata bestearen kontra, perla arrosaren distira aurkitzeko. Paparreko lapak aztertzen genituen. Koilaratxoak miazkatzen.

Jarraian, galtzerdi zuriak altxatu eta arineketan abiatzen ginen kalez kale, eskolako liburu-zorroa airean. Gure belaunak uso fidaberak ziren; ileko txoriak, amu desiraz beteak.

Eta ez genuen txintik esaten. Egunei joaten uzten genien, besterik ez, etor zedin adina inori gu ukitzen uztekoa.

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