Margin: Exploring Modern Magical Realism


A man is stretched out underneath the sky.
His sense of touch has gone out. Ants
can climb over his neck to the stalks of wheat.
This is the most terrible thing about the dead:
that life covers them and absorbs them.

Because a man is dead, and in the plaza
the regulars are playing their usual cardgame.
The grain is ripe for harvesting,
and boats stand at the wharf, getting ready
to weigh anchor at dawn.
A dead man is hope face down.

Because a man is dead and it's possible
that he may have a freshly-opened
pack of smokes in his pocket.
And this is the most terrible thing about the dead:
that they stop suddenly in the midst of things.

A man has died when he unfolds himself
and stands face-to-face with his body,
holds out his hand and bids himself goodbye.
A man has died, irremediably,
When those who remembered him die.

The dead resist being dead
and defend themselves with their inert weight,
and in that struggle their screams are terrible,
because only the eyes can hear them.

We have to love the dead, to understand them.
They're like good children in a fit of sulking.
They've lost their toys, their barrel-hoops and kites,
and they'll never get over being sad, not ever.

s a n d y   m c k i n n e y ,   t r a n s l a t o r / k e y   w e s t   ,   f l o r i d a


Un hombre est tumbado bajo el cielo.
Se le ha apagado el tacto. Las hormigas
pueden subir el trigo por su cuello.
Esto es lo más terrible de los muertos:
que la vida los cubre y los absorbe.

Porque un hombre está muerto, y en la plaza
siguen jugando al tute los de siempre,
y se espera que grane la cosecha,
y hay barcos en los puertos, preparados
para zarpar al despuntar el alba.
Un muerto es la esperanza boca abajo.

Porque un hombre está muerto y todavía
es posible que tiene en los bolsillos
un paquete empezado de tabaco.
Y esto es lo más terrible de los muertos:
que se paran de pronto entre las cosas.

Ha muerto un hombre cuando se desdobla
y se mira su cuerpo, desde enfrente,
y se tiende la mano, y se despide.
Ha muerto un hombre, irremisiblemente,
cuando mueren los que lo recordaban.

Los muertos se resisten a estar muertos
y se defienden con su peso inerte,
y es terrible su grito cuando luchan
porque sólo se oye con los ojos.

Hay que amar a los muertos, comprenderlos.
Son como niños buenos enfadados.
Les han robado el aro y la cometa
y se han quedado tristes para siempre.

r a f a e l   g u i l l e n / g r a n a d a ,   s p a i n
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