The Messenger


She took the words for a stroll

and the words bit the children

and the children told their parents

and the parents loaded their guns

and the words wailed, howled

slowly licked their blind wounds

until they fell flat on their faces

onto the bloody earth

and death came then

dressed in its Sunday best

to stop by the poet’s house

and call to him with desperate cries

and the poet opened the door

not knowing what had happened

and he saw death hanging from its shadow

and sobbing

it told him, “Come with me

today we’re in mourning”

“Who died,” asked the poet

“Well, you,” replied death

and death extended its arms to him

to offer condolences.


Mario Meléndez (Chile, 1971), translated from Spanish by Eloisa Amezcua

from Poetry (issue September 2017), to buy the magazine:

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