Catherine Gil Alcala


Translation by Alexander Dickow


Mirror 4


THE STORMSONS, speaking to the Dead man.

The ode to the vanishing of Oceanian elders, like a lullaby, works its way in from your childhood’s remoteness.
The thunder’s echo resounds, the children play the stone-hammering ritual of the storm.
The end and the beginning of time rolls up and unrolls simultaneously along the poles’ axis.
A dull, day-long whistling plunges you beneath the earth of ancestors.
You gnaw at the black bone of melancholy, a Jivaroan skull devours your vision.
A hideous goat-headed woman chews at your toes, you can feel the inexorable dissolving off your being.
You have a vision of your translucent skeleton, of your bones tumbling in a glacial avalanche.
Delight strangles you; the fear of your own annihilation, like a jealous lover, kisses you too forcefully.
You suffocate, petrified at the edge of a shore, at the edge of your first and your last breath.
A vision submerges you in a ground swell…
you dive into the bottomless well of a gaze; when the spirits mount you, you feel the irrepressible attraction of the void in the gaze of the oracle…
All your thoughts merge, the shooting stars of false memories burst in the emotion of the air.
A black, lunar silhouette clogs your mind, you have become the double reflection of yourself, yourself the spectator of your eclipsing folly.
Mania, the divinity of folly and death, appears to you in the shape of a crowd.
Mesmerized by the teeming faces, you nod in the fog, you cough up the gills of your breath.
You advance on a shrinking road, you drag the chaos of your incarnations like baggage attached to a dog’s tail.
You find yourself hanging upside down; you lose your teeth in a dream.
A knife blade peels your skin away like the rind of a fruit.
The beak of a seraph plucks away your clumps of gooseberry flesh; an inhuman hand penetrates the maze of your innards, uproots your heart.
You flow in an underwater delta…
The claw of an earthquake slices through the fault of a nothingness from which a rain of knives bursts out to descend upon you; you collapse several times and you rise up several times, and although you are cut into a thousand pieces, you rise up once more.

MAMA COMMOTION, speaking to the Dead man.

In the alley of a nightmare, a black hog bares its teeth at you; your teeth chatter.
A slit of light; the eye in your mother’s sex peeps at sallow reality.
It is yourself in the keyhole, between your mothers’ legs.
You have the dizzying, orgasmic impression of your birth and your death.