The following poems are excerpted from Soledad Marambio’s Chintungo: The Story of Someone Else, translated by K.T. Billey and recently published in a bilingual edition by Ugly Duckling Presse.
Simeón kneels on the hills of the yard
spade in hand, rake behind
tending to hydrangeas, pansies, primroses, then continuing
with the oranges, lemons, persimmons and mancaquis
guardians of the autumn cookouts.
Before, before us, there were the hills.
Twenty years of climbing, climbing, to keep climbing.
I saw the photos, we all saw them, and we listened;
to the ascent of Plomo
the ascent of Morado
the failed ascent of Punta Italia.
We also heard:
about the muleteer dead at the base of a mountain
the friend lost between the cracks
the frozen toes of Rafael Lartundo
who was left carrying the sleeping bag?
We knew it was the mother, ours, who asked him to stop climbing.
She asked him before becoming a mother, even a little before she was a wife.
She was afraid of being widowed, she said.
The Barefoot Boys
The photo is burnt.
Little by little they come to be shadows
to be children who run on the sand,
a bunch of kids without shoes chasing
the one with the smallest feet, the largest ears,
the fearful smile.
Que se mea, que se mea, he pisses himself,
they shout until she comes to the railing.
In the world of barefoot boys
the broken-shoed one is king.
My father doesn’t wear broken shoes anymore
but he does keep holes in his socks.
© 2017 Soledad Marambio and K.T. Billey. Excerpt by agreement with Ugly Duckling Presse.