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Mario Obrero, translated by Katherine M. Hedeen
and Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

His Ancestors

I dreamt of my ancestors and their scent of stolen potatoes
I saw them whack olive trees with their faces full of thorns
I saw my ancestors dancing on a mountain of garlic
grandpa and his brown suit
grandma lighting six candles on the radiator altar
I’m talking about the ones who play dress up with wet matches and mud the ones who
             tell jokes with the window closed
I saw my mother
a child with her first pair of blue jeans gazing at the sea


I saw the laundry on Venetian clotheslines and the poets in New York care for a turtledove and
             its dulcimer made of packed snow
I saw myself looking at the new world with Mayakovski’s memoir under my sweater


I saw myself rock slowly in fireplace dreams
the boats the tea and the Emily Dickinson poems hidden in the shadow of a whale
I saw my children singing drunkenly in the confessionals
the cold like a hedgehog wrapped in sawdust
on a quilt lies a blue bird
some sockless dream eating watermelon slices
the Spanish students recite to me in unison


Verde que te quiero verde.
Verde viento. Verde ramas.
El barco sobre la mar
y el caballo en la montaña.


I walk down the hallways of a world that smells like waffles and gasoline.

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