Translated from the Spanish by Ilan Stavans
And the Pope said amen in the empty square and no one answered from the clouds and no one answered from the mirror because all voices were beneath the ground sweetly cradled to cease existence. And the Stock Exchange swelled its lung and counted the oxygen in coins and rerouted its wind toward some islands sewn to the sea with sutured wounds only for lizards and exceptions. And all countries became one but specially themselves since many needed to choose between virus and bread and a few saved a piece of future in the freezer. And supermarkets were crowded with animals in search of animals with families in white that grazed in a field of alcohol paper and plastic and gloves keying the fear code. And each hospital became tempest and roofs rained and doors flew and the thread of life became clear-cut and truth came and went in hallways without being asked any questions. And grandparents could see with skin like fishing nets and hands stained with memory and eyes blinded by lucidity their rights turn into numbers. And technology was flesh in those who already had it and ghost in those with only body and we sang rhyming songs promising never to forget. And very soon our voices went quiet in the usual places in multiple corners with a fly’s buzz in that devil’s limbo which is the border between song and silence between mourning and amnesia. GRANADA, SPAIN | MARCH 27, 2020
© 2020 Andrés Neuman. Translation © 2020 Ilan Stavans. First published in And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again by Restless Books.