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Indocumentado/Undocumented

Solo,
Frente a luces ajenas
Oye otras voces calladas, distantes:
Este puente te lleva al olvido,
Te cambia de nombre.

Ya nada será tuyo
Escucha el sonido del tren que se aleja,
El viento que roza la tarde.
Ya nada será tuyo
Y cuando vuelvas
Traerás en las uñas, en el tacto, en tu aliento,
La sensación de haber visitado
El envés de tus sueños.
Ya nada será tuyo
Como lo fueron una vez los juegos de niño.
Aquellos jardines del pueblo,
El mismo recuerdo.

Alone,
Facing foreign lights
He hears whispered voices, distantly:
This bridge takes you to oblivion,
It changes your name.

Nothing will be yours now,
Listen to the departing train,
The wind rubbing against the evening.
Nothing will be yours now
And when you return
You’ll bring under your fingernails, your touch, your breath,
The feeling of having visited
The underside of your dreams.
Nothing will be yours now
As were the games of childhood,
Those village gardens,
The same memory.

[This moving poem by Enrique Cortázar originally appeared in Espejos y Ventanas/Mirrors and Windows (eds. Mark Lyons and August Tarrier), a new collection of oral histories of Mexican farmworkers published last year by New City Community Press, whose work is “grounded in the belief that writing is an implicit organizing tool that can produce social change.” It is reprodued here with the author’s and publisher’s kind permissions. — Ed.]


Enrique Cortázar obtuvo su maestría en educación y literatura en la Universidad de Harvard donde fue estudiante de Octavio Paz. Algunas de sus publicaciones incluyen La Vida Escrita con Mala Gramática/Life Written with Bad Grammar (Ediciones de Cultura Popular, 1983) y Variaciones Sobre una Nostalgia/Variations upon a Nostalgia (UNAM, 1998). Fue catedrático de la Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua durante más de 28 años y actualmente dirige el Instituto de México en San Antonio, Texas.

Enrique Cortazar earned a Master’s degree in education and literature at Harvard University where he was a student of Octavio Paz. Some of his publications include Life Written with Bad Grammar (Popular Editions of Culture, 1983) and Variations upon a Nostalgia (UNAM, 1998). He was a professor at the Autonomous University of Chihuahua for more than 28 years and presently directs the institute of Mexico in San Antonio, Texas.


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