It’s the hour you hate most,
when afternoon falls
as if collapsed from the roof.
Murky slithery things
run under your feet and you feel
something pass that makes your face cold
it’s not the wind.
You start to hear voices
no one else hears.
You believe you see centurions in the snow,
tongues pulled out, and the dissolution
at night of the tedious wall that isolates you.
Your scared shadow precedes you
through the dusty salons of the palace.
And you arrive at your bed
in the hostile dormitories
knowing only enemy dreams
Dreams with teeth that do not weary,
like the dark rat that night after night
gnaws the floorboards.
~ Óscar Cerruto, trans. from Spanish by Jessica Sequeira
Óscar Cerruto was born and died in La Paz. His work includes ‘estrella segregada’ and ‘reverso de la transparencia’.
Jessica Sequeira is a writer and translator living in Buenos Aires.