María Rosa Lojo

 

 

(Argentina)

 

 

 

Fragility of Vampires

 

Sometimes we hunt vampires. They are not repulsive or evil as legends tell and morals preach. Nor do they assume human forms and bite beautiful women’s necks to give them a pleasure that humiliates all mortal men. They don’t seem strong and they don’t kiss with lips or attack with fangs. On the contrary, they are delicate like spider webs and small like fireflies.

 

To catch them it is necessary to wait naked in the darkness and move into the emptiness with a pallid and furious net. The white of your skin or eyes or teeth, the lunar reverberations of the net, make them dizzy. The smell of your unclothed body guides them, your hunter’s fantasy embraces them in ardent silence. It is easy then to seize them between the tips of your fingers in order to devour them or enclose them in transparent flasks. Some people hide them among their downy pubic hairs, others dissolve them in the juice of opium poppies so their dreams’ meaning might exceed the poverty of the days that die.

 

Others become vampires themselves: creatures of unimaginable beauty, victims of the new hunters who are waiting, their bodies luminous like lamps.

 

 

 

Transparency

 

Every day at dusk the woman sits down within the patio of her house. Anyone accompanying her would see how her body becomes transparent in time with the shade. First there appears a map lit up with veins and viscera, then, farther down, a village of hollow bones through which the wind races like a throb of music.

 

The woman smiles and lifts up an arm in the incipient night. A few minutes more and the splendor of bone illuminated by distant songs will fade out and skin conceal the blood’s color.

 

When everything ends, she keeps the chair under the eaves and returns to the kitchen, taking with her the secret of the world’s transparency.

 

 

 

Steadfast Love

 

I know that your hand will emerge from beneath the earth to sustain me – it will resemble a root, with knots impervious to deterioration. I know that your hand will curl up and hollow itself out to give me rest. I know that it will close and lift itself up, so that I may stand against the fear of the sky. I know that the nights will polish it like a mirror where my life is reflected, so that I may see myself in dreams.

 

I know that your ashen hand will make sense and will beat like your heart, steadfast nine months to grow me.

 

I know that it will draw shelter’s last circle and that it will lay me down in the center of that fiery ring.

 

And all the wind falling in the dark won’t be enough to undo it.

 

 

 

Queimada

 

Queimada is a brew made of alcohol, fruits, and honey that burns on the first night of winter so that the immortals’ fire may pass into the veins of human creatures and with its eternal Evil and its radiant force protect them from wretched transitory misfortunes.

 

The recipe is used illicitly, since it is patented in Hell, and was obtained by craftiness and theft. But as Satan is marginal to all law and God amuses Himself with his small defeats, no mortal was or ever will be punished for lighting the blue flames when all the other lights in the room are turned off. The demonic fire’s seed starts to grow then in the clay pot and to flow into the little cups that are lifted up.

 

Its burning sweetness cleanses men from bad dreams and useless passions and from the envy that some feel toward others. The intoxicating effect lasts until after dawn, changes the literal meaning of words, and twists the direction of obedient steps. The drinkers then send their washed and ironed shadows along the paths of work, and they shine on the tops of the pine trees, floating and unassailable like will-o’-the-wisps*.

 

* A fuego fatuo, literally « haughty fire », is the same will-o’-the wisp, or ignis fatuus, as the « little

fire » in the poem by that title.

 

 

 

God’s Eyes

 

God’s eyes grow in the cavities like mushrooms under the rains’ humidity. They appear without cultivation, undisciplined and multitudinous, to be devoured by small animals and by children hunting small lizards.

 

Each eye is a miniscule world that can only be seen against the light. But nobody stops to look at it and the intense and delicate design of a whole cosmos disappears under a dog’s fangs or a child’s teeth, with a bittersweet taste and a viscous consistency that stimulates unease and melancholy.

 

Wandering dogs that announce funerals, irascible men and barren women, are – they say – those who ate God’s eyes and now amble along the edges of life, blindly rancorous and sad because they once had, and have lost, the world’s most secret irradiation.

 

 

© Trans. by Brett Alan Sanders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BIO

 
María Rosa Lojo, Argentine writer and literary scholar, is an internationally recognized representative of the Latin American “new historical narrative” movement. Among her popular work are the novels La pasión de los nómades (1994), Finisterre (2005), Árbol de familia (2010), and Todos éramos hijos (2014); the story collections Historias de la Recoleta (1999), Amores insólitos de nuestra historia (2001), and Cuerpos resplandecientes (2007); and poetry or micro-fiction including Esperan la mañana verde (1998) and Bosque de ojos (2011). Her work has been translated into several languages, including Pasuree Luesakul’s prize-winning translation into Thai of Finisterre. She may be contacted via her website: www.mariarosalojo.com.ar.

 

 

 

 

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