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Yvon Gordon Vailakis

PROMETEO
Latinoamerican Poetry Magazine
84-85. July 2008.

Yvon Gordon Vailakis

(Ecuador, 1955)

Those who leave their country
lose
they lose their language that slides off the tongue like warm garlic
they lose the custom of chatting warmed by the midday sun
they lose the sense of tradition and oblivion                         
they lose
and I tell you
that those of us who leave
we begin to plant plazas and squares
in other lands
and, yes, we lose the richness of the mallow on our tongues
and, yes, we lose daily contact with the warmth of family and  friends
and, yes, we lose the taste of the papa chola in the locro
and, yes, we lose the smell of queso de hoja dripping down our  throats
but we succeed in planting artichokes and asparagus in foreign  lands

and we eat them as if they were ours
we season food with chili and annatto
we raise sanctuaries and give praise
in our backyards
we return with our faces painted all over
we look to the South and to the North to the East and to the West
we ask the wind’s permission
and we return to the plazas and the squares
and we spread our language and our traditions
we paint ourselves with annatto
and we dance to the deerskin-drums
and, yes, we lose our land
yes, we lose
but we win the veins of the limitless world.                                                         
                                                                                                             

From Colibríes en el exilio (1997)
Translated by Amanda Chmela


The Women from Potamiés

wrap their hair with sage.

They walk the stoned covered streets
like birds leaving the nest
behind shadows they light the way.

They seize the footsteps from the sun 
and let time rest on their backs.
Their faces are scorched by the Cretan wind
their faces recognize dreams

along the way.

They rock the warmth of the afternoon
with their rough hands.
And they peel walnuts
and mix the grape syrup of their dreams
with coral threads.

Naked before dusk
they pray for the heavenly traces of the earth
they  pray for the bushes, they pray for the oak trees
they  pray for the fragrance of the olives.
Their body is embellished with oil and oregano.

They cook with herbs that grow next to the bushes
and season them with oils made from tenderness
simmered in the somba.
They add oregano to the lure of the afternoon.
They sit in the sky’s balcony
looking at the ground and the oak leaves
in order to share delights and sorrows with them.

The wind whispers at their back
and embraces them like leaves.

They peel oranges and chew corals.

From their mouth a breath of island escapes.


From Colibríes en el exilio (1997)
Translation Ivón Gordon Vailakis

Fredy Amariles

Última actualización: 28/06/2018