Poems

MĂ“NICA OJEDA
My father begot me without a sound
(translation by Kymm Coveney)

from the collection Historia de la leche

My father begot me without a sound

He raised me
rainriiiwithout new words

Way down
in the depths of his skeleton
my ages grow

As do the verbs
he fishes out
and tends in the soil of my ears:

rainriii“Give voice to ancient words, princess”

His blood speaks
in this repeating cadence

I practice it on vertebrae and teeth
on breasts
and the moaning of my knees as they bend

rainrainrainriiiThis is the language
rainrainrainriiiof my birth

The story I go to on my own
inventing it
from the center of his belly

de Historia de la leche

Mi padre me engendrĂł sin ruido

Me criĂł
rainriiisin palabras nuevas

Muy adentro
al fondo de su esqueleto
crecen mis edades

Crecen los verbos
que Ă©l pesca
y cuida en la tierra de mis oĂ­dos:

rainriii“Pronuncia palabras viejas, princesa”

Es un ritmo repetitivo
este habla de su sangre

Lo practico con las vértebras y los dientes
con los senos
y el llanto de mis rodillas al doblarse

rainrainrainriiiEste es el lenguaje
rainrainrainriiide mi nacimiento

La historia a la que voy sola
e invento
desde el centro de su vientre

MĂłnica Ojeda (Ecuador-Spain) was in Granta’s Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists 2021. In Spain, she has published two novels and a poetry collection with Candaya Editores, and a short story collection with Páginas de Espuma. Sarah Booker’s translation of MandĂ­bula (Jawbone, Coffee House Press) was short listed for the 2022 National Book Award for Translated Literature.

Kymm Coveney (Boston-Barcelona) is putting the finishing touches on her translation of Historia de la leche by MĂłnica Ojeda (Candaya Editores, 2020). She was recently awarded Honorable Mention by the New England Poetry Club for her translation of another poem from this collection. Explore her website to learn more.