Misspelled

Translation of Ericson Acosta’s “Tala”
by Charlie Veric
Misspelled
We carve the names
Of the remembered and deeply loved
On the side of a tree
On canes
On conch shells and bamboo instruments
On coconuts and pots.
Misspelled, yes
But touch them and they truly are
The unfortunate chronicles
In the gaps between these letters
Burrowing into calluses and nails
Like nails, spleens and gills.
They truly are these:
The orphaned, the befuddled
The anxious and sleepless
The murdered while asleep
The felled because already awakened
And to others are the awakeners.

Misspelled
We carve each syllable
Of our memories and prayers
On the open post
On stairs
On windows and tables
On bamboo benches and beds
Misspelled but true
And no longer a trace
Of lesions, scrawls, and smudges
No longer a brief half-consciousness
These are the solid sores
Of our found nightmares
Ruptures on lips and palates
Naked wound on the face
Fresh cut on the forehead
Tear in the stomach of a mother
Who devoured daggers
Because there was nothing else to eat.