Here there was a lagoonthat we think was beautifulwe think was fresh.We wish we could remember the lagoonlike a little garden of tiny fishwhere the bigger onesgot betterat eating the rest.Here there was a lagoonand when the water was stillthere was a riverthat shaped these rocks roundbefore they became stray shotsof an abandoned ripple on the desert.And beforebefore it was the bottom of the seaand the whales used to mate right hereand not further south where we hear their melancholic wailsit was near this piece of ocean bedwhere their whale ancestors dealt out the seaas if they were gambling.Here is the desertand here was the seaand between thema lagoon we’d like to remember as freshif we could remember.If we could remember that this peninsulathat parts in the continentit was first split by a whimsical metal corpsethen by the ancient wound of the earth.If we could rememberthat this piece of landemerged from the waterswith uswith our stone heartour dirt heartour jungle heart.If we could remember that when this desert we went throughemerged from the watersit emerged like the great beastsfangs drippinghungryunawaretormented, thinking it wasthe last beast to emerge from the waters.
Copyright © 2018 by Julio Serrano Echeverría
Translation copyright © 2018 by José García Escobar
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Julio Serrano Echeverría is a poet, documentary filmmaker, and visual artist. He has been part of educational projects based on filmmaking and visual arts. He’s a former Fundación Carolina (Spain), FONCA–AEID Ibero-American Artists’ Residence (Mexico), and Fundación Yaxs (Guatemala) scholar. He has published Estados de material (Catafixia 2017) and Central América (Valparaíso 2014), to name a few of his books of poetry; he’s also the author of several nonfiction and children’s books, and the transmedia project based on his essay “Ser el fuego”. Additionally, he’s the founder and creative coordinator of Agencia Ocote, an interdisciplinary project based on the interpretation of the Central American reality and its current events.
José García Escobar is a journalist, fiction writer, translator, and former Fulbright scholar from Guatemala. He received his MFA in creative writing from The New School in New York City. His writing has appeared in The Evergreen Review, Guernica, and Words Without Borders. He is Asymptote’s editor-at-large for the Central American region.
Guernica is a non-profit magazine dedicated to global art and politics, published online since 2004. With contributors from every continent and at every stage of their careers, we are a home for singular voices, incisive ideas, and critical questions. We publish memoir, reporting, interviews, commentary, poetry, fiction, and multimedia journalism exploring identity, conflict, culture, justice, science, and beyond.