“The Wait” and “A Strange Gathering”

The Wait

Observing from the platform, Rocío felt that the idle train of time reluctantly stopped at the station to pick up the hours. Like so many other times, she swore to herself that this would be the last time she would set her watch back to delay the arrival of the New Year to wait for him. Him, her necessary evil, but more than anything, her void, her past. “What is the past?” she asked herself. “My tomorrow next to him,” she replied. Pensively, she asked: “But, which tomorrow? The new day, or my future?”

Her look became lost in the remoteness of that unwittingness that causes one to thread the past through the eye of the present. At that time, she had chosen a law career and was in her second year of law school. Despite the desperate economic situation at home–not having enough money to pay for her classes or to buy those things she needed–she stood out as a brilliant student.

She was Luis’s girlfriend. But…poor Luis. He still had three years left of medical school. “And what if he doesn’t marry me?” she thought on occasion, remembering that old saying: “A student’s girlfriend…” “Well, it’s better not to think about that,” she told herself.

Her dates with Luis were limited to going to the movies (if there was money), visiting a mutual friend, or going to the sea wall to see the waves crashing into the rocks.

Almost always, she went by herself to the parties that her friends on the faculty organized. Once there, she would dance, laugh, forget about her problems, and enjoy herself. As for Luis, he had too much studying to do.

She met Gabriel at the wedding of Luis’s friend, César, in September. He had been looking at her insidiously since the ceremony in the cathedral. That night she looked beautiful; her tiny figure and unintentional flirting attracted the men. Just as she was about to leave the reception, she was intercepted by Gabriel.

“Would you permit me the honor of escorting you home?” said Gabriel, with a little bit of anxiety and a great deal of firmness.

She didn’t respond right away, but looked at him and managed a half-smile. “He looks like one of those men who appears in the fashion magazines: elegant, well dressed, and well groomed,” she thought.

“I don’t accept invitations from strangers,” she responded, as she quickly headed for the door.

Gabriel practically ran after her to tell her that he had been invited to the wedding because he had known César since high school, and that he was a surgeon, and of course…could he see her again.

There was no lack of flowers or telephone calls. All of a sudden, it really looked like the sky and the earth were joining together in Rocío’s horizon. She didn’t know how to explain it, but she would find herself thinking every hour of the day about Gabriel, that man who was so handsome, and seasoned his words with honey.

Now she asked herself if she was really in love with Luis. They had grown up in the same neighborhood. She remembered when she was young and played carrier pigeon delivering love notes that he would write to her friends, every now and then hearing someone tell his mother that Luis was “a model young man.”

One day, while Rocío and Luis had walked on the grounds of the university, they’d taken each other by the hand and realized that they were a couple. They’d embraced in front of the framboyan tree, and like that, without the “I love you’s” and with only a kiss (her first), they’d begun the relationship that was now dying, not from natural causes, but because she, impressed by another, was suffocating it with her indifference.

Rocío’s world began to change. Her relationship with Luis drifted away, her final university exams were a disaster, and she was constantly arguing with her father because he said that doctor made him nervous. But Christmastime was just around the corner and she would finally get to meet Gabriel’s family! She would be loved and accepted like another daughter, because, according to Rocío: “Times had changed and rich men were getting married to poor women.”

Christmas arrived and brought happiness stained with sadness, thus causing Gabriel to postpone introducing Rocío to his family until a later time.

One Saturday afternoon in Rocío’s apartment, her parents were discussing her failing relationship when they heard the grating sound of a car horn. Don Homero looked between the Venetian blinds and saw Gabriel parking his car in front of the house. Old man Homero, full of anger, tucked his shirt into his pants, put on his glasses, and came out of the house with a frown on his face. Gabriel saw Don Homero approaching, extended his hand to greet him, but didn’t receive any reaction. Don Homero, visibly upset, told him that his daughter had always been a decent girl, respected by everyone, but now she was like a stranger because he had brainwashed her. Rocío condemned her father’s behavior. She was an adult and responsible for her own actions. Furthermore, she couldn’t forgive him for offending
her boyfriend in that manner.

Gabriel waited for her every day after classes on the campus of the university. One day, he suggested that she move into an apartment building on her own. “I’ll pay for everything,” he said.

In that, Rocío couldn’t oblige him. And what about all her dreams? Her, dressed in white lace, pearls, and satin, standing on an altar, saying: “I do.” But Gabriel convinced her that all her dreams would surely come true because: “She was the light of his eyes, the woman he’d waited for, for a long time.”

Rocío moved into her new apartment. And it was all for her: her own bedroom, her own private bathroom, her own kitchen, and even her own maid! Not even her so-called “happily married” girlfriends lived this way.

Feeling that she was young and had all the time in the world, she didn’t register for the next semester. Besides, Gabriel wanted her to stay at home and cater to him. He was jealous, and sometimes in a bad mood, but she was in love and would forgive him. Gabriel, her master, who would make love to her after their arguments and then seal his promises with kisses and caresses.

She waited for him looking radiant, with an indescribable sparkle in her amber-colored eyes. She had set the table for two. They would be eating by candlelight to celebrate their first anniversary and a surprise that she had been zealously keeping from him for several days. She didn’t know why, but Gabriel seemed different; she would say cold, distant. But no, everything would change upon giving him the news.

They sat down on the large sofa. Then, Rocío looked at Gabriel tenderly and took his hands and placed them on her stomach.

“Guess what’s in here?” she asked.

“Well…intestines and other important organs,” he replied.

Rocío knocked him backwards with a punch.

“A baby,” she said.

“A what?” he shouted, as he abruptly sat up and turned toward the balcony.

Rocío was crushed. “Why did he have that reaction?” she thought. She approached him and tried to touch him, but he eluded her and reproached her for having deceived him; he’d assumed she’d been using the pills he brought her every month.

“It’s too soon to be having children,” he said, in a determined manner. “We’ll fix that, first thing tomorrow.”

Rocío had to accept it with profound pain, just as she would accept many other things. She gave in to his wishes; it was like being addicted to a drug. Her fear over losing him forced her to accept the most unlikely decisions and whims that occurred to him.

The pages of the calendar began to fall away slowly. Left behind was the embracing heat of the sun, and autumn was arriving to shorten the days, strip the trees, and lengthen the nights.

Rocío had accepted the bizarre: Gabriel’s marriage to another woman! As always, he prepared the scenario: he threatened to leave her, or perhaps kill himself. She believed him.

She positioned herself on the sidewalk opposite the chapel and from there had a clear view of the bride and groom entering the chapel followed by the rest of the wedding entourage. She saw Gabriel step out of the gray limousine, and he didn’t look sad or worried. “Well…he’s playing his role,” she thought.

Later, as they were driving away, someone tossed a bunch of carnations from one of the cars, and it almost landed at Rocío’s’feet. She bent down, picked up the flowers, crossed the street that separated her from the chapel entrance, and paused there for a moment; her erect figure looked like a ghost. She walked up to the altar and kneeled. Thick teardrops ran down her face. She laid the carnations on the floor, lifted her head, and said: “I do.” Afterwards, the expression on her face twisted itself into a sad grimace. She started to laugh, stood up, and spun around in circles until she finally fell sluggishly into a seat.

It was December. The stores were placing Christmas decorations in their windows, and the supermarket shelves were flush with the red of the apples. The clothing stores would fill with people who would buy a new outfit for Christmas, and another, preferably yellow, for New Year’s Day. A fresh breeze would become entangled in the sweaty necks and the gleaming faces of the holiday shoppers.

Rocío walked in a zigzag on the sidewalk. She constantly looked at her wristwatch and thought about whether or not she would have enough time to get to Gabriel’s office before he completed his consultation with a patient. She made a few calculations, deciding that if she continued along the avenue, it would be a much longer walk. It was better to go through Independencia Park, so she quickened her pace. She didn’t know why, but she needed to see him, hear him repeat those promises that came out of his mouth alongside the smoke from his cigarette…vanishing.

Because Gabriel wanted to keep up appearances, he insisted that she not come to the clinic without calling him first. Rocío entered the clinic through the back, and when she arrived at the door to the office, she patted her hair with her hands and applied lipstick. Without knocking, she slowly slipped into the waiting room, where she encountered a young pregnant woman reading the newspaper. Feigning ignorance, she asked the woman if the doctor was still with a patient, because she had come to pick up some results. The woman nodded her head.

Every now and then Rocío diverted a glance at the young woman’s stomach. How many times had she played at being pregnant in front of the mirror by placing a pillow underneath her dress! She was curious, so she moved closer to the woman and asked her when she was due, to which the woman replied that it would probably be at the end of the month. Rocío heard the click of a lock opening, footsteps, and then saw the stooped figure of an old woman, who quickly said goodbye. Moving slowly, the pregnant woman got up from the armchair, simultaneously placing her hands on her back. She disappeared down the small corridor, after which one could hear the buzz of a conversation. A while later, the same woman came back to tell Rocío: “Miss, you can go in. My husband was going to leave for the day, but he’ll grant you a few minutes.”

Even though Rocío’s soul remained numb, she tried to organize her thoughts. In the three weeks that followed, Gabriel called her only once, to reproach her for having come to his office without calling him first. But he certainly didn’t forget to thank her for behaving with so much restraint and saving him from a terrible scene with his wife. He promised to see her on New Year’s night, at which time he would explain why he never told her he was going to be a father.

Rocío was still standing there, on her imaginary platform. She didn’t know how long her retrospective study of the three years she lived with Gabriel had lasted. The night, old and pregnant with hours, would soon give birth to the New Year; perhaps someone somewhere else might be giving birth to a child. Suddenly, she remembered a gray-colored apartment, a crucifix attached to the wall, white bed sheets, and a cold bed where she’d lain lethargically after Dr. García, on Gabriel’s orders, had performed an abortion on her.

Rocío was snuffing out bitter memories that remained behind in the emptiness of a pardon, of a silence. Memories that stripped resentments. Barefoot, she ran across the living room and looked at the clock. Yes, it was already New Year’s and perhaps Gabriel would be arriving soon. She walked in front of a mirror and stopped: the reflection in the mirror wasn’t the same as yesterday. This one displayed emaciation; her smile was no longer iridescent with the “rainbow colors of the morning,” as Luis used to say.

For the first time, Rocío missed her previous way of life. Real love couldn’t alienate one’s heart so much, take away one’s spirit, suffocate the truth. She sat down at her desk, and with fortitude wrote a brief letter:

Do you know that when the sun rises today in the horizon, I will look at it and sustain the look in order to blind myself with light and perforate these bands of darkness that cover me, so that you’ll never force me to believe in your lies: your only truths that I invented for you.

Rocío turned off the lights and drew the curtains. “Tomorrow is another day,” she stammered. Now, the train of time was joyfully idling at the station to pick her up.

Knocks on the door that become lost in the silence. A hand picking up that white envelope.

A Strange Gathering

It was one of those winter nights, almost polar. The roofs of the buildings displayed white hats, the window sills were crying snowflakes, a few doors were adorned with Christmas wreaths, and, on the sidewalks, the trees appeared to bloom with intermittent colored lights. Everything resembled a Christmas card.

Mariela and I walked gingerly on the steep sidewalk so that we wouldn’t slip. The wind rustled, hurling snow crystals at our cheeks that pricked like thorns. We slowly walked up that street at a turtle’s pace. My feet, like my hands, were becoming numb.

It was Christmas Eve and we preferred to tolerate the miserable weather instead of staying in the apartment. “This is how New York is,” I thought, “a place where one feels alone among many people.” We headed for the home of Josefina, an old friend of my aunt.

Josefina was a tall, dark-skinned woman who always had her hair tied at the back of her neck. She had thick eyebrows, and her small, slanted eyes with thin eyelashes gave her an emaciated look. She also had long, skinny legs, and walked slowly. When she spoke, she displayed a few white teeth with gold inlays. Her toneless, high-pitched voice gave the impression that it didn’t belong to her.

I knew Josefina was superstitious. She always carried something colored red and wore her underwear inside out, and hanging from the straps of her bra was a little black pouch that contained something she called “protection.” I remember the afternoon she pulled it out from between her breasts to show my aunt while she talked to her. Around her neck she wore beaded necklaces of different colors.

At the entrance to Josefina’s apartment, quite visible, she’d placed a charara, a small broom made of palm branches, for the idol Babalú-Ayé to use in sweeping away any evil influences. From the door hung two dry ears of corn, tied together with green and red ribbons, so there wouldn’t be any lack of food in that home.

Josefina sprinkled her conversations with long interjections about spirits, fortune-telling by cards, dreams, etc. She always walked around with a small, square piece of wood, in case it became necessary to touch it and give it three knocks, because: “These days, everything is fake, and there is nowhere to knock on pure wood.”

Josefina lived alone. Her sons had completed high school and left home. She was waiting for the new man that Saint Marta, La Dominadora, would be bringing her. She had separated from her husband ten years before because the seres, through a santera, had foreseen that the union interfered with her good star. Nevertheless, she had hired a lawyer two years ago to obtain the insurance money for the death of her husband, who had suffered a fractured skull when a steel pulley had fallen on him on the freight platform. In regards to this tragedy, she maintained that he had died that way as punishment from the seres, for refusing to believe in them.

Mariela and I arrived at the building. Our heads and shoulders were blanketed with snow. I pressed the doorbell.

“Who is it?” asked a voice through the intercom.

“Ana María,” I replied.

An intermittent and discordant chirp was the signal to open the door. In the corridor, we shook our bodies to remove the snow. Then, we climbed up, or rather, scaled, four floors.

Josefina greeted us at the door with her best smile. She took our overcoats, and, leading us into the living room, informed us that three other friends would be joining our gathering.

The atmosphere of the apartment was saturated with a smell of incense and tobacco that I momentarily found unbearable. Mariela and I exchanged glances. Before sitting down I walked over to the window, and while feigning comment on that white Christmas, I leaned my hands against the window sill, pulled the window up, and breathed in the freezing air.

The apartment shined with cleanliness. Painted in a dark gray, it resembled a dreary sitting room. Meanwhile, the chords of a plena could be heard coming from the kitchen.

My friend Mariela seemed comfortable. Despite the fact that she had never been in the apartment before, she knew certain aspects about Josefina’s life that I had told her. Mariela worked as a secretary for a fashion agency during the day, and at night, she was an actress in a small theater. She didn’t talk to me too much about her past, but she once had told me that her father had been a very famous circus performer–she hadn’t mentioned what his act was–and her mother, too. She’d been born on an icy night in November in one of the circus wagons, and grown up there among clowns, trapeze artists, animal tamers, tigers, elephants, etc., until the unexpected death of her father on her sixteenth birthday. Mariela had such a happy face that it contradicted her age. She was educated, well-mannered, funny, and quite a joker. A few minutes later, the other women began to talk to her in an animated fashion.

In the meantime, I was observing the symmetry of the apartment that resembled one of those large and cold public school classrooms. The decoration of that living room would have appeared strange to whomever was visiting Josefina for the first time. The little tables, placed at each side of the sofa, rested on top of grotesque figures of serpents. Placed on top of them were little porcelain hand bells. In a quick move, perhaps by instinct, I picked one of them up and rang it. At the same time, a strong wind blew through the window which I had left open earlier and threw a flower pot to the floor.

I immediately saw Josefina appear with a terrified expression on her face. She looked at the smashed flower pot on the floor and nervously took away the little hand bell that I was still holding between my thumb and index finger. I was frightened by her reaction, but she calmed me down and very quietly explained that the tinkling of a bell for no reason could attract burlones spirits that remove everything in their path. As proof of them, she referred to the strong gust of wind that had smashed the flower pot. I could barely hold back my desire to laugh, and thought: “Oh, ignorance, mother of so much foolishness.”

Josefina left the living room followed by her old dog Brownie, which she was in the habit of saying was a very fine breed, a German shepherd mix, even though Brownie was simply a mutt. Her off-key voice accompanied a plena chord that incessantly repeated: “Qué viva Changó! Qué viva Changó. Qué viva Changóoo! Qué viva Changó, señores!”

A small bookcase was resting against the wall. I felt curious about what that strange woman read. On one of the shelves I found a Bible covered with lambskin. The pages where the Bible had been left open (Psalm 91) were pale, colored by time, and faded by the indifference of the reader they’d never had. On the other shelves I saw books like The Art of Playing the Numbers and The Secret of the Great Pyramids, along with a few books about sociology and psychology. That was when I remembered that Josefina was a social worker. She had decided to return to college after her sons had grown up. She had completed two years of study to obtain a small certificate that she had hung on the wall next to a photo in which, dressed in a cap and gown, she is smiling (displaying her gold teeth that in the photograph resemble tooth decay), holding a paper tube tied with a red ribbon, and wearing a wide ring with a blue stone containing engraved lettering on one of her fingers. The ring and the parchment were her museum pieces that she showed everyone who visited her apartment. She didn’t delay in telling Mariela about that college diploma, how hard it had been to earn it, how she had scored A’s or 100’s on her exams, and how she hadn’t graduated with honors because a few professors hadn’t liked her.

Mariela and I were finally called to the table. We were very hungry. The walk in the snow and the cold weather had left us exhausted. Sitting at the table, we savored the plates of food before even tasting any of it. They smelled delicious.

The dinner took place in a pleasant and very Creole atmosphere. I could see that Christmas Eve brought with it a certain melancholy that depicted itself on everyone’s face; perhaps we pined for the fatherland left behind so many years ago.

I missed my people: the neighbors visiting the apartment and bringing their best plates and delicacies, the boisterous Christmas parties, the sound of radios playing only merengue music in the neighboring apartments like loudspeakers, the noise of children with their sky rockets, roman candles, and firecrackers, and me, dizzy because of the combination of anisette, cream liqueur, and muscatel drinks.

I thought about my mother, cheerfully melancholy, eating in her rocking chair in order not to look at the empty chairs of her children who were no longer with her, and the chair of her husband, who one night in April had gotten up and left on a trip with no return. I thought about that land of mine that painted my cheeks with sun, wove me a dress of sand, and surrounded my nights with constellations of tiny stars.

At Josefina’s suggestion, we all remained seated after finishing dinner. She covered the table with a wide red cloth (she tied another piece, white, around her head), and on the table, she placed a crystal pitcher filled with water, two long, lit candles, and a white cup covered with a piece of white cloth. Then, she asked us all to hold hands, because it was a very favorable night in which to communicate with her protective seres, who would let us know their predictions for the new year.

I voiced my objection to that ruse and moved my seat away from the table. Mariela looked at me, winked her right eye, and quickly took Josefina’s hand. “The beauty and nobility of Christmas Eve has vanished and given way to a séance,” I thought.

They stammered a few words in unison, and while their eyes were closed and their hands were intertwined, touched the lip of the water pitcher with their fingertips. Then, Josefina began to call out the names of seres and asked them to approach. There were moments when her voice broke down into crescendos that reminded me of the howling of wolves. Her thick eyebrows seemed to flee from her face, and her thick, twitching lips assumed an apelike expression. While she arched her arms with her hands turned upside down, she grimaced with movements in and out as if she were pushing and pulling something. Although only the flickering light of the candles illuminated the apartment, we could see each other clearly. The shadows projected on the wall were shaking at the slightest movement of those bodies sitting around the table.

Obatalá guardian of my head, your children are here for you to protect us. We’ve come to pay you homage, oh powerful ser,” said Josefina, while she brought the white cup to her lips. Afterwards, she dried her lips with the white piece of cloth, leaving a few red blots, like blood stains, on it.

Josefina continued to ask Obatalá to allow her to be possessed by Ochún. This entire litany of pleadings became prolonged. Her words, ignored by Obatalá, were mixing with the smelly smoke of the cigar she had just lit. Meanwhile, one of the other women was moving her head from side to side, abruptly lifting her chest and squeezing Mariela’s hand so tightly that Mariela tried to break her grip, but to no avail.

Suddenly, a strange voice passed through the apartment. Josefina was stunned. She wasn’t possessed, but perhaps one of the others? She opened her small eyes (in whose pupils the trembling flames of the candles were reflected) to observe each woman from her seat. No one was possessed! Where the hell does that voice come from? The seres need a cabeza in order to have contact with the terrestrial world, she thought, while her shock skirted along the edge of fear, which had already taken possession of the other women, whose faces were rigid.

“What do you want me for?” said the voice.

Now, all the women looked at each other in terror.

Mariela adopted a strange expression that was difficult to describe.

“What do you want me for?” the voice repeated.

With visible nervousness, Josefina asked the voice to identify itself.

“It’s me, Tolomeo de Jesús, your husband,” the voice replied.

“To…To…Tolomeo? That voice sounds nasal. It’s not Tolomeo’s voice,” said Josefina arrogantly.

“I’m Tolomeo,” said the dead man. “Remember that here in hell, where you always sent me, there’s a lot of smoke, ha, ha, ha.”

“May God relieve him from torment and give him peace!” screamed the women, almost in unison.

“It’s all right, what do you want?” responded Josefina confidently.

“What do I want?” replied the dead man. “You, only you.”

“You’re not going to take her!” replied Josefina’s friends in unison.

“Ha, ha, ha,” said the dead man. “You abandoned me and now you want to collect on my insurance, you greedy woman.”

“Oh…Tolomeo…yes, it’s true, but…but it’s for your children,” stammered Josefina.

“My sons?” replied the dead man. “You must mean the ones you haven’t seen in a long time, you ugly shrew!”

“Don’t get angry,” begged Josefina. “It’s probably just a dark wind that’s coming over you. What you…you need is a little bit of light. Tomorrow I’ll go to church and pay for an entire table of candles and a mass on behalf of your grieving heart.”

“Ha, ha, ha. I’m taking you with me,” said the dead man.

“You’re not going to take her!” replied each woman, one after the other, in an increasingly frenetic tone, upon seeing the stubborn way in which the dead man persisted and the way desperation was taking possession of Josefina more and more.

That laughter reverberated in my ears, and a coldness rose through my feet until it slid out of my veins and changed itself into a combustible substance that accelerated my pulse. I remembered my grandmothers’ stories: when she spoke about how the “souls in torment” of those who had led a disgraceful life would sometimes walk among the living, leaving their mementos.

When Josefina realized that her attempts to calm down the “dead man” were failing, she placed her hand between her breasts and pulled out the little black pouch that was her “protection,” a large crucifix that had been given to her when she was a Catholic religion student, and from around her neck she removed the beaded necklaces of different colors, saying in a loud voice:

“Go, tormented spirit! Go to hell! With the sword of Saint Miguel I denounce you! With the nails that nailed Jesus I crucify you!”

Suddenly, Brownie jumped on the table, knocking over the white cup that contained the red liquid. He avidly began to lick up the spilled liquid. Then, my suspicions were confirmed: it was blood! I became pale.

Meanwhile, Josefina was looking at Brownie as if she had never seen him before. Then, while she remained seated, she pushed the chair back, propelled by her feet on the floor.

“He’s possessed Brownie!” shouted Josefina.

Brownie approached Josefina, now attracted by the blood that had spilled earlier onto the skirt she was wearing.

“Don’t come near me! Get back!” shouted Josefina at Brownie.

“Don’t come near her!” said the rest of the women in a loud chorus.

In view of Josefina’s violent attitude, Brownie began to growl threateningly while displaying a long, watery tongue and several sharp fangs.

“Ha, ha, ha,” said the voice, returning. “Why do you think it’s strange that I drink blood, if you, vampire from hell, drank it first?”

With a hysterical expression on her face, Josefina looked at her friend, Angelique, and said:

“Angelique, you told me that in Haiti you fought against bacaces many times. What do we do?”

“Who? Me?” replied Angelique, in a tone so loud that Brownie emitted a hoarse bark.

We saw Angelique’s eyes bulging, then, a sharp, quick blow, and her body unconscious on the thin rug.

Mariela was the only one to get up from her seat. She looked for the light switch while the rest of us remained there, like wax figures stuck to our chairs. Brownie moved away with the white cup smeared with blood in between its teeth. Then, we ran towards Angelique who was still lying unconscious on the floor. I asked for a piece of cloth dipped in ammonia.

After several minutes that seemed eternal, Angelique was able to regain consciousness. We placed her on the sofa, and then for a moment forgot about her to recover our strength after having lifted those almost inert two hundred

No one said a single word. Josefina tossed the candles, red cloth, and the glass pitcher out the window. Next, she closed the bathroom door where Brownie was still entertaining himself licking the cup. She said that she would call someone in the morning to take away the dog, and promised herself (I assumed for a very short time) not to call upon seres ever again. The rest of the women agreed. Nevertheless, a question still lingered in my mind: What was that voice or whom did the voice belong to? Did it come from Brownie?

Mariela and I decided to go home by taxi. It was too much for one night. As I lay in bed, those scenes of such a strange gathering came to my mind. I wanted to talk to Mariela, but I didn’t receive any response. Then, as she was dozing off, she calmly said to me: “I never told you that my father was a famous ventriloquist, and that I was his assistant, did I? Good night.”


Alba Mota-Santana

Alba Mota-Santana was born in the Dominican Republic and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Harry Morales

Harry Morales is a Spanish literary translator whose translations include the work of the late Mario Benedetti, Rodrigo Rey Rosa, Eugenio María de Hostos, Emir Rodríguez Monegal, Juan Rulfo, Alberto Ruy-Sánchez, Ilan Stavans, and Francisco Proaño Arandi, among many other distinguished Latin American writers. His work has been widely published in numerous anthologies, and has appeared in various journals, including Pequod, Quarterly West, Chicago Review, TriQuarterly, The Literary Review, AGNI, The Kenyon Review, Mid-American Review, ACM: Another Chicago Magazine, Mānoa, BOMB, WORLDVIEW, Puerto del Sol, The Iowa Review, Michigan Review, World Literature Today, and Hayden's Ferry Review, among others. His English translation of two verse collections by Mario Benedetti, Sólo Mientras Tanto: Poemas: 1948-1950 (Only in the Meantime: Poems: 1948-1950) and Poemas de la Oficina: 1953-1956 (Office Poems: 1953-1956), and a volume of stories, El Resto Es Selva y Otros Cuentos (The Rest is Jungle and Other Stories), are published by Host Publications.

Copyright (c) Alba Mota-Santana, 1990. English translation copyright (c) Harry Morales, 2001.