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This is Jacket 14 - July 2001   |   # 14  Contents   |   Homepage   |

This issue of JACKET is a co-production with SALT magazine

Victor Hugo Limón

three poems

translated by Mark Weiss


I see a woman emerge from the sea.
She lights a cigarette.
Where she could have found a kingdom
she scatters ashes.

On the sand the footprints
end at a jade dress,
hair undulant as a jellyfish.

She tells me: "To live in the sea
one must float like the dead."

The radio announces:
"Tomorrow will be clear

Baskets and Dates

The earth brings itself forth in my lips’ thirst,
undulating prairie
in the stinging of my eyes.
The woman I loved
closing her eyes
has bid me farewell.
Her face is covered with sand
in the cool air of the mountains
like an hourglass
that warns of  time passed.
An elderly woman
weaves baskets
gathers dates,
recounts the story of the couple in the mountains:
"She evaporated into the world,
he seeks to extinguish melancholy
in the desert."

Cool winter descends on the desert.
Glancing down at the page,
I look for the dot
that will show me your face.

Playing Dominoes

My father
returns to the past by way of words.
like a tree, at his step
leaves fall, his shadow falls with every gust of wind.

Once the family would gather,
sun transforming roofs and walls,
the light in the dining room
sweet to taste, and in a dance of hands
the dominoes revolved,
my father
and the rest of us
awaiting our destiny.

Today the family gathers again,
Aunt Alicia and my grandparents gone,
a festive meal on the table
colors spilling in all directions;
my father
in the midst of the celebration chooses
which bread to take,
memories silence him,
rolling his eyes and moving his tongue he tests
his pride as if testing a coin.

I see in his eyes a heart that knows farewells,
I see his hands that have touched
only what time has touched,
I see myself come forth from him
and return, carrying this heart.

Today we won’t argue,
because the thousand nights imprisoned beneath his roof
the thousand days beneath his shadow
the violence the rage
are suffocated by the weight of love.

In this place, with these people, he will return to his childhood.
I will silence my accusations and patiently
place the dominoes on the table
while we await our destiny.

Victor Hugo Limón lives and writes in Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico, where he was born in 1958. There he attended La Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. He works as a taco chef in Tijuana and in a butcher shop in San Diego, California. Nombre en blanco (Mexico City and Tijuana: Editores del Hotel Ambosmundos and Imago ediciones, 1997), from which these poems were drawn, is his only book.

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This issue of Jacket is a co-production with SALT magazine,
an international journal of poetry and poetics, edited by John Kinsella
PO Box 937, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge PDO, CB1 5JX United Kingdom ISSN 1324-7131

This material is copyright © Mark Weiss and Victor Hugo Limón
and Jacket magazine and SALT magazine 2001
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