This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features a poem by Diana Morán, translated from the Spanish by Ash Ponders. The full translation of Morán’s book, Reflections Next to yr Skin, is available now from Gramma


Lovingly, Father

From a bitter little drunk
came the magic
Thrice I absentmindedly played an album
to cry w/ Julio Jaramillo
+ cranked the volume
that sweetest album of scarves
(it wasn’t the solemn kingsome tone/ rather
a single continuous tear of sugar +
singing between sobs of bolero
yr la-la-la-ing in the finest pasillo
that saw us leave behind
those Saturday episodes of wicked Dr. Fu
              When yr gone
              I’ll be wrapped in shadows
Between the summers of twilight
(those same sort that there they call bougainvillea)
yr face opens + is cut out
w/ cheekbones so
(say) to mine
              (to grandfather’s ricepaddies)
+ those profound creases on yr brow
              (like mine, too)
in which flocks of thens
                                                      (hang echoes
of the hard fru of yr name
            When yr gone
            w/ yr lonesome ache
The hardest eyes, yrs
notdissimilar to those ancient knots in yr
+ those grinning droughts
(fasting eyes / lent shirt
for being liberal or Arnulfista)
quarry where the dredger spit up
to listen
to yr inner monologue 
that gave
              corn to horses
                             + banana to the parakeets
                                          + in the lazy penumbra
                                          of my tiny bedroom
There they were

next to the bars on my embargoed voice
yr darling boulders
There they were
in the plane’s liftoff
that carried out the sentence that
                                      (rippedmeout of you
(everything we don’t say)
those exact words
w/ which my regretmother
straightened the tree
Tomorrow y’ll cry
            see the sun
            always the sun
even if it’s the witches’ night
eating yr navel
+ Dianatree choked down the shivers
like today
(if / regretmother/ tomorrow I’ll cry)
+ she chokes down nettles
                            + I’ll suck in the sky
                            like a waft of roses
Well before we became the duo
for those dusty roads
+ the sale of papers on Sundays
(probably in the Adventures of Pepin/
of ships in gutter puddles)
I wanted
              I want
                           I’ve wanted



Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).

Photo credit: Ash Ponders