Translation Tuesday: Poems by Pilar Fraile Amador

Translated by Elizabeth Davis

from YOUTH


The way the snow falls


and covers the plain


that’s how I grew up

at the hearts of your eyes.



You don’t tell me about what happened.

You sustain your gaze

across glass and fold

inward without losing sight of me.



You don’t tell me about what happened

or mention the loss.

I am your youth.



I am your youth. I look at the wire that


from window to window


yellow birds


in the afternoon.




This is my legacy.


persecution of ghosts. Corridors of

dust and ants.



This is my legacy.


tightness of the lower jaw clenched against

smoke and still asking who.

I say



I’ll sell myself for you and you won’t even

realize it. Between the two of us the ghosts

won’t go hungry.



There was no celebration or flame


to illuminate your pretty red mind.




You were naked too when you arrived.




I trace lines across the tapestry of nothing

of things. In the absence of my lines

a soldier’s silhouette appears and a date that

the nothingness of things goes on erasing.



The storm lags. Ozone. Lack.


Bodies without light. Streets that

don’t point north.


Our feet are not made-to-measure.



If the sky were vast we would fill it. Dazed still. To say

come along

before starting.

To draw

the curtain of rain. To descend.



from LARVA


It swells in me in its exact

disorder from branch to

bone from

hollow to







like a parasite memory takes root.




Delicate rope rocked by the wind.



Drawbridge between the halves of my name.


Pilar Fraile Amador is one of the most innovative of the generation of Spanish poets who have come of age post-Franco. Born in Salamanca in 1975, she earned her PhD in Philosophy from University of Oviedo and currently teaches at Enseñanza Secundaria. In 2005, Fraile Amador was awarded the Poetry Prize from the University of Zaragoza. Her publications include El límite de la ceniza (Prensas universitarias de Zaragoza), Larva (Editorial Amphibia) and La pecera subterránea (Ediciones Amargord), among others. Her work has also been featured in the homage for José Ángel Valente, Pajaros Raíces (Abada Editores), and in the anthology La república de la imaginación (Legados Ediciones), as well as in translator and poet Forrest Gander’s most recent book of translation, Panic Cure: Poems from Spain for the 21st Century.

Lizzie Davis is a writer, translator, and musician living in Providence, Rhode Island. Her translations have appeared in The Brooklyn Rail,Circumference, and Aldus, a Journal of Translation, among others. This year, two of her chapbooks of translation, Book of Birds with the Faces of Women and Circular, are forthcoming from the multilingual Spanish press Skat.