Three Poems by Margarita Ríos-Farjat



Translated by Karenina Osnaya


A desert

That today is still called


Nothing remains

José Emilio Pacheco


It is said by José Emilio

that in Tacubaya nothing remained.

Octavio Paz always longed for the Mixcoac that left away.

Mixcoac received me,

as the branch of the oak to the bird that falls from the nest

and knows not where it is. And Tacubaya

was its name of rain stick turning in time,

the path of the spirits of the water, pilgrims under the sky. And like them,

like many others,

I was also a water spirit crossing Tacubaya

a small river appearing from Mixcoac and cascade in Chapultepec every Sunday,

and a forest’s spirit through for the crusts of the infancy,

adolescent wood from Insurgentes to the Zócalo, and from Los Juárez to San Borja.

I also traced with long braches

the way to the school, to the sunken park and to my house,

and to frightful doctors’ offices and motley little shops,

and the cinema and the friends enlightening the cafés,

and the endless bookshops of Donceles where so many voices were calling me and never shut up.

And with other children I wove the ivy of my childhood for over a decade

and in less than an moment,

and the like oppressive veins were drew up to me the streets, the walkways

and the tracks of skates between parking lots, in parenthesis,

in the stages of life,

in the endless waiting room of the twenties —that seemed that would never arrive—

and between long blocks of patience to arrive at any point

the daily sense of commuting over the grand city, over life,

and over the scale of time and its hours of lead.

I also sank roots beneath the buildings

because the soil of Mixcoac is a good soil

and moist, and it’s not rough

and I hung high eaves and I hung my dreams

among orange rooftops and quiet monuments,

in the open windows of the great city

great for not being anyone but only oneself and being of air,

and fly in pollution of clouds or to the volcanoes if the sight is clear,

or incarnate as an oak in the forest of Ajusco, where the water springs,

where the water falls, a spirit of water roaming through the great District.

And where are now these leaves and these dreams?

No, it is not that nothing is left

it is just that the changes of life are heavy,

nails and roots are broken because they won’t leave, and the soul remains like a mutilated plant.

There was no time to unhook the green dreams and the high leaves, I had to invent a new ones,

half rooted in the roughest of soils, with no nails nor self-defense.

There it remains a part of my feet and a part of my eyes,

there it lies the nest of high leaves and dried dreams

and who knows if I return today, what would I find.

And it’s not that I long for Mixcoac or any street, nor do I long for the light of a certain sun

but for all the scenery as it was

and for my childhood friends, without all that future that they lived

but which I didn’t take part in.

It is said that long time ago there was nothing left, and for me there was it all,

it is said that it is still there but I fail to find it.

The poets long for themselves, every day they get lost,

leave it all, they reinvent themselves, empty themselves.

They stand still in front of the time to complain it is going away,

they stand still in front of the time and claim to themselves,

nothing belongs to them yet everything they own, they cross their arms, they extend themselves

in air.

They are free and turn away.

The poets long for themselves, that’s all.

Whether there’s something or nothing at all.



The Shadow

Translated by Matthew Brennan


I watch over my shadow

the dark refuge

seductive silhouette of black silence

of caresses on guard.

My shadow grows beside me

discovers the sun upon my face

who amused traces

my contour.

And I let him

and my shadow knows it.

And my shadow loves him

she tells me

in confidence.

The brighter the sun the longer she is.

Or deeper.

And my shadow beside me

makes me longer

upon the earth.

Or makes me deeper.

And my shadow beside me

rejoices in the sun

and smiles at him

though I cannot see her smile.

I like having my shadow ahead of me

and the finger of the sun above my neck.

And when I know, with my eyes open to the light,

that my shadow

behind me

awaits. Or when


she is mild on cloudy days

and lightens thoughts and ghosts.


But she never goes away

for when she leaves she will take me with her

she tells me


– We will go together – she whispers.

Meanwhile she awaits me


and lies in wait.

And I smile at her.

But I watch over her.

Yes, I watch over my shadow

that ration of night and the dark side of me.

I watch over the mysteries she treasures

the dark ink of my history

what I keep under lock and key

what at times I do not like

what at times I forget

or pretend that I forget:

she treasures everything

with compassion.

She records and classifies

but she caresses all.

My shadow

silent record of loss

of sunlight and secrets to the ear.

My shadow

subtle mirror of time’s passage

subtle reminder of my nature,

in light.



I Have A Baby

Translated by Matthew Brennan


Little heart

little to fill only with me

heart of wind that unleashes my heart

first heart and last heart

Heart of air, heart of stars

heart of kisses pouring us over the Earth

beating kisses, opening arms

Heart of water, heart of fire

heart of carousel and balloons in the sky

heart of mine outside of me

double heart, heart with eyes

little heart all in white

little bird we fly to my childhood

and that little girl accompanies you

little bird with long wings and eyes up high

grow and fly, fly free, beat strong

do what you want to do

and smile

little heart



Margarita Ríos-Farjat is a poet and an attorney in Monterrey, Mexico. She was a Fellow at the Nuevo Leon Writer’s Centre (for poetry), and has won some writing contests: Literatura Universitaria (1993), Poesia Joven de Monterrey (1997), and Nacional de Ensayo Juridico (2000). She is the author of some juridical publications, and two books of poems: Si las horas llegaran para quedarse [If the Hours Would Come To Stay] (1995), and Cómo usar los ojos [How To Use the Eyes] (2010). Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies and many magazines in Mexico. She is also a columnist to Monterrey’s leading newspaper, El Norte.




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