TRANSLATED FROM SPANISH BY DAVID BRUNSON
When I think of freedom
I think of Isla, my mare,
And I think of a photo of my grandmother,
Gorgeous at seventeen.
She remembers, in those days,
When a man told her to eat shit, horseface.
And I think of freedom, like beauty,
Ready to burn— incinerated,
Attacked with full force.
Eat shit, horseface means
Being a patient woman,
Given to drifting through time.
Like the women of my family
I do not want to understand time.
Mama knits, like Penelope,
Waiting her only purpose.
My religious sister measures time by experience.
My grandmother has an eternity of sadness in her chest.
Isla, my horse, has not allowed anyone to ride her for years,
Nobody will place an hourglass on her forehead’s handsome diamond.
Pacing for one, two, seven hours
With humanity’s time tattooed between her furrowed brows—
This is to live dying.
Her existence reduced to grazing, contemplating the horizon,
Without thinking of herself
With a saddle on her back,
Arching beneath the weight of a man’s body,
With an arm twisting her neck,
And a stranger’s shadow making her shadow grow.
Freedom is a golem that, on a whim,
Transcribes the words placed in its mouth.
Eat shit, horseface is
To accept being the target for other people’s shit,
To be my grandmother, my mother,
And to be me, and my cousins,
And Isla, who belongs to herself,
Not to me.
Venezuelan poet Sara Emanuel Viloria researches and practices both two-dimensional conceptual illustration and watercolor, as well as digital illustration. Viloria incorporates fine art themes into her narrative and poetry—a distinct characteristic of her work—in which she writes to “heal” the wounded canvas. Her poetry has been anthologized in the Antologia del II Festival Internacional de Santiago, and published in the plaquette Incendiario by the Chilean-Venezuelan journal and press Los Poetas del Cinco.
David Brunson is a fourth-year poetry and translation MFA candidate at the University of Arkansas. His poems and translations have appeared in or are forthcoming from Manoa: A Pacific Journal of International Writing, Nashville Review, Copper Nickel, and Los Poetas del 5. He is the editor and anthologist of a Spanish-language anthology of Venezuelan migrant poets in Chile, forthcoming from Libros del Amanecer in Santiago, Chile.
read next: Halimah Marcus “The Long Run“