6 | victoria guerrero

a letter

(Translated from Spanish by Toshiya Kamei)


Dear husband, before you arrived I saw small animals peek out from the bushes. You have no idea how much I loved to feed them while I waited for you. On afternoons I took the train to the nearest lake. All the children trampled dry leaves when school let out.

Throngs of children wait to plunge their boots into the winter snow. I made the trip every afternoon just to listen to the leaves rustle under their dusty boots. Then I saw you walking in the distance, along the streets where a foamy wave seeps through the dreams. All night I felt you breathe down my neck and your body tense as you rode the waves. Your image appeared and then disappeared. The water flung salt and sand over your boiling piss. I didn’t know how to take hold of you. I took many photos of you and me so that I could recognize you when I opened the door. But I forgot the image is ephemeral and threw a stone into the lake and went crazy when I saw my other faces. I had spent too many afternoons there. So I could only recognize you by the suffocation you bring from the other side.


victoria guerrero was born in Lima, Peru, and lives in Boston. She is the author of four poetry collections, including El mar, ese oscuro provenir (2002) and Ya nadie incendia el mundo (2005).