Desde entonces no conozco la piedad / Since Then I Have No Mercy ||| Duende

Translated from Spanish by Yvette Neisser and Patricia Bejarano Fisher 


I felt the pinch

my toe

the crab swiveled its eyes

my grandfather nailed it on a stick
so I could overcome fear

I said    kill it
wrath is a pleasure

under the bandages hate rises with the sun

my grandfather released the crab which returned to the sand
as if knowing that with my toe
I would seal the openings to caves

since then I have no mercy

Sentí el piquetazo

el dedo

el cangrejo giraba los ojos

mi abuelo lo ensartó en un palo
para que perdiera el miedo

le dije    mátalo
la ira es un placer

bajo las vendas el odio nace con el sol

mi abuelo liberó al cangrejo que volvió a la arena
como si supiera que con mi dedo
taparía los orificios de las cuevas

desde entonces no conozco la piedad



María Teresa Ogliastri was born in Los Teques, Venezuela, and lives in Caracas. She is the author of five collections of poems and has been featured at poetry festivals throughout Latin America. Her poems appear in several anthologies of contemporary Venezuelan poetry.

Yvette Neisser is the author of Grip, winner of the 2011 Gival Press Poetry Award. Her translations from Spanish include South Pole/Polo Sur by María Teresa Ogliastri and Difficult Beauty: Selected Poems by Luis Alberto Ambroggio. Her poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in such publications as Foreign Policy in Focus, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. She is the founder of the DC-Area Literary Translators Network (DC-ALT) and a longtime translation instructor at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD.

Patricia Bejarano Fisher is an experienced translator of non-fiction materials who, since 2006, has refocused her intrest, knowledge and expertise in language, literature, and linguistics exclusively on poetry translation. Her work includes a co-translation of Venezuelan poet MT Ogliastri’s South Pole/Polo Sur (Settlement House, 2012) and From the Diary of Mme Mao. Her translations have appeared in literary journals, as well as in Laura Shovan’s The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary (2016), and in Danuta Kosk-Kosicka (Ed.) Szklana góra/Glass Mountain (2017) among others.

Desde entonces no conozco la piedad / Since Then I Have No Mercy” originally appeared in Duende.