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1939

Marjorie Agosín
I

She knew how to seduce her destiny,
predict the time of flight
In 1939, dressed in garments
of night and happiness
at the threshold of a fearful
Hamburg Harbor
resolved to live,
she sailed 
to Southern seas.

In 1938, the windows
of her house of water and stone
resisted the extreme
horror of that night
of broken crystals.

She, my grandmother,
taught me to recognize
the landscape of danger,
the shards of fear,
the impenetrable faces
of women,
fleeing,
accused,
audacious in their will to live.

II

Helena Broder,
created a domain
of papers, fragile vessels,
clandestine poems and
notes to be made,
discreet addresses.
With little baggage,
like a frail and ancient
angel,
she arrived,
although ready to embark again.

I survived next to her
and I was thankful for the gift of her presence.

From At the Threshold of Memory by Marjorie Algosín, translated by Cola Franzen and Monica Bruno Galmozzi. Translation copyright © 2003 by Cola Franzen and Monica Bruno Galmozzi. Reprinted by permission of White Pine Press. All rights reserved.

From At the Threshold of Memory by Marjorie Algosín, translated by Cola Franzen and Monica Bruno Galmozzi. Translation copyright © 2003 by Cola Franzen and Monica Bruno Galmozzi. Reprinted by permission of White Pine Press. All rights reserved.

Marjorie Agosín

by this poet

poem

And the night was a precipice,
And the night was a hollow sound,
Beyond all depths and silences.
It was night in the city of Juárez and the dead women of Juárez
Protected the living ones.
It didn’t seem like a typical night at the border.
It seemed more like the drowsiness of a mute