The north wind whips

By Víctor Terán Victor Teran

Translated By David Shook Read the translator's notes

The north wind whips through,   
in the streets papers and leaves   
are chased with resentment.   
Houses moan,   
dogs curl into balls.   
There is something in   
the afternoon’s finger,   
a catfish spine,   
a rusty nail.   

Someone unthinkingly   
smoked cigarettes in heaven,   
left it overcast, listless.   
Here, at ground level, no one could   
take their shadow for a walk,   
sheltered in their houses, people   
are surprised to discover their misery.   

Someone didn’t show,   
their host was insulted.   
Today the world   
agreed to open her thighs,   
suddenly the village comprehends   
that it is sometimes necessary to close their doors.   

Who can tell me   
why I meditate on this afternoon?   
Why is it birthed in me   
to knife the heart   
of whoever uncovered the mouth   
of the now whipping wind,   
to jam corncobs in the nose   
of the ghost that pants outside?

The trees roar with laughter,   
they split their sides,   
they celebrate   
that you haven’t arrived at your appointment.   

Now bring me   
the birds   
that you find in the trees,   
so I can tell them   
if the devil’s eyelashes are curled.

Source: Poetry (April 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2009


Víctor Terán was born in Juchitán de Zaragoza in 1958, and his work has been published extensively in magazines and anthologies throughout Mexico. His books of poetry include Sica ti Gubidxa Cubi (Like a new sun; Editorial Diana, 1994) and Ca Guichi Xtí’ Guendaranaxhii (The spines of love; Editorial Praxis, 2003). Terán works as a media education teacher at the secondary level, on the Oaxacan . . .

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SUBJECT Nature, Weather


Poetic Terms Free Verse

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