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Angela Acosta

The Monster that Inhabits History

Each time I watch the film The Spirit of the Beehive
I lose my fear of the monster, that mythic Frankenstein
who plunges the girl in the river,
and I fear the adults even more.

I fear those who let history
happen that way as we ignore fascism, substituting it
with a clumsy man made of flesh and bones like
a terrifying symbol of a forty-year dictatorship.

Sometimes I see the monster with his sharp teeth
looking at me on the Madrid metro or singing the Cara al sol,
hymn of a regime that has come to be almost a fiction,
a melody that no longer frightens the youth.

The monster is not the unknown, it is history wounded
with a thousand bullets of oblivion, of faults placed
on men who constructed a country out of ruins
and were then buried in the Valley of the Fallen.

We will one day welcome Frankenstein,
he who wishes to play with children with a ball of memories,
he who teaches a multilingual nation his many names,
he who shows me, a historian, how things were,
in that past not so far removed from our democratic present.

“The Monster That Inhabits History” is a translation of Angela Acosta’s poem “El monstruo que habita la historia” that first appeared in Label Me Latino/a

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