Fabián Severo trans. by Jesse Lee Kercheval & Laura Cesarco Eglin
night in the north
I am going to write the memories down so I won’t forget.
the afternoons in Artigas
belong to the cicadas.
Artigas is closed with a padlock.
Artigas is Sunday.
Artigas doesn’t have a president.
Artigas talks and dances with those people
but works and eats with these.
Artigas had a sky full of stars
a river full of fish
country green with trees
earth brilliant with stones
but someone’s taken it all some other place
and we were left with nothing.
I see that everyone leaves
to wander through the world.
They say there’s life out there.
I do not know
I only know this city.
Once I went to Montevideo
and I almost went mad.
why so many people?
I don’t go where the buses go
because I’m afraid I wouldn’t find the things I like.
in the mornings
I see lit bulbs
in doorways with nylon curtains
and dogs stretched out
Numbers painted with whitewash
on unplastered walls
patios full of uneven weeds
washtubs leaning on wires for hanging clothes
windows with broken flowerpots
and always open.
This is an excerpt. The full text of Fabián Severo’s Night in the North, translated by Laura Cesarco Eglin and Jesse Lee Kercheval, can be read in the print edition of The Arkansas International 5.
Fabián Severo was born Artigas, Uruguay in 1981. He lives in Montevideo, Uruguay where he is a literature teacher and an academic administrator for the literature and creative writing section of Project ProArte. He is the author of four poetry collections: Noite nu Norte, Viento de Nadie, Nós Otros, Viralata.
Laura Cesarco Eglin is an Uruguayan poet and translator. Her translation of the Brazilian poet Hilda Hilst, Of Death: Minimal Odes is forthcoming from co-im-press. She is an assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Simmons College.
Jesse Lee Kercheval is a poet and translator, Her translations include Invisible Bridge/El puente invisible: Selected Poems of Circe Maia (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). She is the Zona Gale Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.