From: To Leave

On the eight floor of the library
next to me
a man

in another place of mine
I’d slightly turn
just enough to whisper
are you alright?

under this strange roof
I fear to be indiscreet
to stare too much
to skip rules

the man


if this isn’t displacement
then what is.


my father hugs me
and looks at the Cantabrian Sea

on clear days
if I strain my eyes
I’ll be able to see you
from here

I’d never seen my father cry

my sister
tells me

you know
some days
I don’t remember mom.



Nothing smelled like my mother’s lipstick. Before crossing the yard I insistently demanded my ration of red; school became incomprehensible without the morning kiss that colored my lips and made me feel a woman at the age of seven. I guess the color changed over the years, but the sticks always smelled of maternal smile, of that locked-in-time nostalgia that I now uncover in the bathroom cabinet



The whole half
The forevers
The names of future children
The exclusive affection rights
The excuses, the imsorrys, giving account
The bank accounts
The never before
The house
The country house
The country house and the dog and all the variations thereof

I believe love exists
But not where we look for it.


………………………………………Antonio Gramsci


When I’m painting my nails
and a shadow falls upon my right foot
and the polish seems to spread
so even
so neat
–that kind of illusory happiness
in which you are aware
that shifting the toe
just a little bit
will reveal
the great lie–
and still I decide
at my own risk
to move it
and in fact
with no mercy
the mess starts to emerge,
the naked truth leaves me no option
but the polish remover.



The people are saying that I am your enemy,
That in poetry I give you to the world.
They lie, Julia de Burgos. They lie, Julia de Burgos.

……………………………………………………Julia de Burgos


The conclusion is to live
for oneself

because all the rest can’t reach you

and because it’s always too late
to start over
without fissures
without excuses

because you are
on your own.


Isabel Cadenas Cañón

Isabel Cadenas Cañón (b. 1982, Basauri) is a writer and photographer. Her book Irse won the 2009 Caja de Guadalajara-Fundación Siglo Futuro Award for young poets. In 2010, she was selected by the Spanish Ministry of Culture to represent Spain at Book Expo America. She is the co-anthologist of El tejedor: New Iberoamerican Poetry in New York (LUPI, 2011) and she has translated the works of Circe Maia into French and the works of Raúl Zurita into Basque. In collaboration with Valerie Mejer, she is currently translating C.D. Wright's work into Spanish. Her photographic work has been showcased in galleries in Argentina, Spain, and the United States. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish from NYU, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in Spanish and Portuguese. She also holds the title of "Insigne Vaivodesa" from the Long-lived Institute of Higher Pataphysical Studies of Buenos Aires (LIAEPBA). She lives in Brooklyn.

Kenneth Heaton and Margarita Larios

Kenneth Heaton is a New York-based dramatist and translator. He is currently working with Valerie Mejer on a proposed Spanish translation of the Irish poet Nick Laird's work. Kenneth's plays include The Ontological Detective (Off-Broadway), Departures (Off-Off-Broadway), Time Goes Crawling By (Winner, Southern Playwrights Competition), and Safe Havens, which earned him a Fulbright fellowship to Croatia. He holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.


Margarita Larios is a Mexican writer and translator. She lived in Mexico City and worked there as an editor. She moved to New York in 2009, funded by a scholarship by NYU, and graduated from NYU's MFA program in Creative Writing last year. She has co-edited NYU'S CWS online magazine I'man-hattan and the cartonera Temporales. She is currently writing her first novel in Spanish and collaborating with different publications in English and Spanish. She can be reached at [email protected].

Irse. Copyright (c) Isabel Cadenas Cañón, Madrid, 2010. English translation copyright (c) Kenneth Heaton and Margarita Larios, 2011.