a window on their lives and work
Never let this book of the law depart from your lips, so that you will meditate on it day and night. Joshua 1:8
It’s nine o’clock. The same routine begins that I have kept for fifteen years: my wife will come out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel and dulled with exhaustion. She will put on a frayed nightdress to dive between the sheets. Then she will read the Bible with intense fervor and after well-worn verses and sweaty pages, will close her eyes like two flowers before the mouth of the night. There is no doubt – that’s the way it will be.
Then, I put out the cigarette in the window, and like a bundle of bones drag myself to my place on the bed. In the same spot I stretch out, I twist, there where my silhouette lies petrified. On the wall the clock is a grave where we bury time and the hands weigh on my neck like an invisible prophecy.
As I predicted, my wife reads the Bible: the death and crucifixion of Christ, from her stormy face. The bedroom is a silence broken by the drumming of my fingers on the night table, and a lamp emits delicate threads of light on my figure. Two bodies admire each other, attracted by a minuscule distance that appears an abyss. Near my hand, her dark back and delicate lines of gold on her breast. But that other, more alive in its expanse, where indefinite beings collapse one onto the other like ripe fruits, makes my hand hesitate.
There’s no doubt – or is there? I still recall the first time her bronze silhouette captivated my eyes. I saw her asleep in a dusty corner, among books and shelves. I came in through the store door, walked lost through the passageways of the place, but in the end had to buy her, and in spite of myself she came with 330-something others… . I carried her home and very ceremoniously put her like an idol next to the black heart that was reading my nights, and I, its words.
One night, hypnotized by her brown hue, I ventured into the strange wood of her skin, of her infinite leaves: I did not encounter long sentences! nothing of woods, nor of prairies, nor of tired lines without end! Instead, I came across a verse, Isaiah 29:8. Then I knew, I was not a traitor, she had just changed from skin, air, water, paper. Unfortunately, on reading the pages that followed, verse by verse the truth fell on my soul. But…but…b..ut…what beautiful pages! the lines so lovely! what a body! what bronze! what gold! what language!:
Parece que sales y soles, nosotros y nada…
Now I pray each night “Me encanta Dios,”and more intimately I sigh the Horal, my hand certainly (although it does not know it for certain) hesitates between one back and the other, but since those nights, I confess, I have been unfaithful to her.
– Translation (c) 2018 by Paloma Fernández Sánchez and Carol Polsgrove; published here with David Anuar’s permission. For the Spanish original, see pp. 56-57 of Anuar’s new online collection, Seriales y otros cuentos cortos. published by the Secretaría de Educación of the State of Yucatan.
David Anuar writes poetry, fiction, and essays, and from his base in Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico, spreads the word of other writers’ work, as in Contramarea, his online anthology of young Quintana Roo poets. Photo by Gerardo Canto.