from Los infiernos espléndidos

Róger Lindo is a Salvadoran poet and journalist most popular for his writing in La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States. He is the author of two novels, El perro en la niebla and La isla de los monos, and one collection of poetry, Los infiernos espléndidos—published in 1998, six years after the end of the Salvadoran Civil War.


XXIX

Whereas my friend Justo
—an afternoon of brooding irons—
ran away crying through the greenery’s uneven terrain
leaving behind a meal of smoke and freshwater
and eleven years of cholera

He wound his soul into a thorn
and started running atop easterly memories
the Gran Río
the years behind bars
and the unfinished duendes of childhood

He left
headed towards the blue murmur of the city
over hills bewitched by war


XXIX

En cambio mi amigo Justo
—una tarde de pensativos fierros—
se escapó llorando por el altibajo de los verdes
dejando atrás un desayuno de humo y agua fresca
y once años de cólera

Envolvió su alma en una espina
y echó a correr sobre recuerdos de oriente
el Gran Río
los años tras las rejas
y los duendes inconclusos de la niñez

Por los cerros embrujados de guerra
se fue
hacia el murmullo azul de la ciudad


Matthew Byrne is a writer and translator who holds an M.A. in sociology from the University of California, Riverside. His work has appeared, or will soon, in Guernica, The Brooklyn Rail, Ezra, MAYDAY, Truthout, and other outlets. His translation of Róger Lindo’s Los infiernos espléndidos will be published by Izote Press in 2022.

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