Melisa Machado translated by Seth Michelson

From “El canto rojo”

XI. Hay una que lleva mi pelo.
Ella no pierde. Abre puertas contra mareas.
Es una que lleva mis ojos.
Es una que ama al hermano, que lo espera en cuclillas.
Reza su nombre. Cuenta peces y algas.
Lleva línea en la cintura, relámpago en el ceño.
Esa, la de cabellera escandida.
La hermana.

XII. Cubrí su cuerpo con flores y otras hierbas,
luego de cuatro semanas de navegar por tierra.
Macerados, nos dejábamos acunar por la marea.
Bendito sea este vientre, el estoque:
su dulzura y su armadura.

XIII. Mana mi pelo de tu lengua.
Envejezco dentro de mí,
con la luz vibrando como cuchillo.


XI.  There’s a girl with my hair.
She never loses. Opens doors against tides.
Has my eyes.
Loves her brother, crouches in wait for him.
Bless her name. She counts fish and seaweed.
Her waist is trim, her brow lightning.
She of the scanned hair.

XII. I covered his body with flowers and other grasses
after four weeks of sailing dry land.
Soaked, we let ourselves rock with the tide.
Blessed be this womb, the sword;
the sweetness and the steel.

XIII. My hair flows over your tongue.
I age within myself
with the light trembling like a knife.

Seth Michelson

Seth Michelson is a poet and translator whose collections of poetry include Swimming through Fire, Kaddish for My Unborn Son, and Maestro of Brutal Splendor. His translations include the books The Ghetto (Tamara Kamenszain, Argentina), roly poly (Victoria Estol, Uruguay), Poems from the Disaster (Zulema Moret, Argentina/Spain), and Dreaming in Another Land (Rati Saxena, India). He currently teaches the poetry of the Americas at Washington and Lee University.

Melisa Machado

Melisa Machado (Durazno, Uruguay, 1966) currently lives in Montevideo, where she works as a journalist, writer, art critic, and therapist. Her books of poetry include Ritual de las Primicias (1994), El lodo de la Estirpe (2005), Adarga (2000), Jamba de Flores Negras (2006), Marjal o Animal (2008), Rituales (2011), and El Canto Rojo (2013), which was published in translation in Italian in 2014 and Swedish in 2015.