Poem | Untitled

There’s only song
because there are mountains,
because mountains distort
what we say,
and that’s how song takes shape—
with words twisted
by hills,
like the longing to hear oneself
for the first time.
Mountains taught us
not to be completely in the right,
to stay suspended
and to wait.
When we learned to keep still
we learned how to hear everything,
no longer frightened
by what we heard,
and in the words distorted by mountains
we acknowledge a yearning
that words couldn’t give voice to.
So silence and song
come together
and for some they’re one and the same,
because when uttering any word
after deepest silence,
it’s impossible not to sing.

Fabio Morábito,
translated from the Spanish
by Kathleen Snodgrass

Published in the January 29, 2016 issue: 
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Fabio Morábito is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist. Born of Italian parents in Alexandria, Egypt, he has lived in Mexico City for over forty years. His many awards include the Carlos Pellicer Prize for his first book of poems, Lotes baldíos, and the Antonin Artaud Prize for his short story collection, Grieta de fatiga. Kathleen Snodgrass is the author of The Fiction of Hortense Calisher (1993). Her translations of Mexican poets have appeared in such journals as Boulevard Magenta and Poetry London, and in the anthology Mexican Poetry Today (Shearsman Books, 2010).

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