A Reimagined-Translation of “Dicen Que Soy” by La India
The curse of some lonely witch
Suspended above her cauldron-glow.
An oar in her hands to paddle the wish.
A witch, the complexion of garlic;
peeled and crushed. An obsession
that bleeds out of and into your every corner
Tell me I am: A black cat in heat, with even blacker luck.
Hungrier than a saucer of milk, or crossing your path,
can sate. Sitting at the foot of your bed devouring
all reason and rhyme, while you sleep.
Leaving you to bleed out as if you have been
bewitched by mortal sin or poisoned-apple.
Dicen que soy: Una cobra, treacherous
and terrible. Coldblooded and coiled in repose in the rosebush.
Tell me I am: A rose by another name
and any other name. Spiny, discolored, and too small
for a bouquet or too mangled to inspire anything.
Tell me I am: The titanic,
lurching towards you.The water, cold. The sun fallen
below sea-level like destiny and the icebergs are dreams;
buoyant and hidden.
I know they say I am,
but all I ask of you
on wounded knee
is that you tell me—
Roberto F. Santiago
Roberto F. Santiago received his MFA from Rutgers University and BA from Sarah Lawrence College. He is the recipient of the 2011 Alfred C. Carey Prize for Poetry. Currently, he is teaching English Composition at CUNY and works as Lead Academic Advisor at a high school in the South Bronx. Travel has also greatly influenced Santiago as a poet. Be it pedaling past the canals in Amsterdam or the smell of rain in rural Québec, he has begun to rewrite his own passport. Santiago also writes and produces his own music, and has been known to dance until he rips his pants. He currently lives in New York City.
Photo: Thomas Dodd, “Enchantress.”