Mateo Mansilla-Moya (Mexico)
Mateo Mansilla-Moya (Mexico City, 1994). He is the founder and CEO of Cardenal Revista Literaria. He has published two poetry books: De sueños rotos, promesas olvidadas y un final feliz (Acribus editorial, 2016) and La temporada de ballet clásico ha terminado (Buenos Aires Poetry, 2019). He has published in magazines like: Mood Magazine, Por Escrito, El puro cuento. He received an honorable mention in the Fourteenth Pre-university Short Story National Contest “Juan Rulfo”, organized by the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and the Juan Rulfo Foundation. He participated in the 7th Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival (2013) and in the 9th Ignacio Rodríguez Galván International Poetry Festival (2019). He studied law at the Colegio de Derechos Humanos y Gestión de Paz of the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana.
We used to walk
by the river
on the side where the smell of the orange trees was lost
with the rotten bodies
of the catanes
that the children had abandoned on the sand.
Those were the days
in which the salt of the Gulf
scratched our noses
and the complexion of heaven
We had learned to play with the sun
across the river
where we could still hear
that someone was waiting for us.
the language of plants
because we had contemplated them
talking with their shadows.
Even though that comforted us
and made us feel at home,
we knew each other foreigners
in the place that
we called homeland.
1- The Rio Bravo (called Rio Grande in the United States) is the body of water that separates the United States of America from Mexico, on the country’s northeast border. For many Central and South American migrants who want to reach the United States, the Rio Grande becomes their grave. The inhabitants of the Mexican towns next to the river often go fishing for catans to eat. There are no fishermen on the American side of the river.
By that time
the night sounded like the V8 engine
of a chrome blue
with Texas license plates.
The buzz that started
at one end of the street
vibrated the screens on the windows
and raised the dust that the passage of the cars
had piled up on the sides of the track.
When the blue glow of the Mustang
passed like a ghost through the window
chilling us to the bone
we turned off the lights
and waited for it to be lost
at the other end of the street
where the pavement gave way to the dirt
and the gravestones raised
in the old communal cemetery.
Then we peeked out
by the edge of the curtains
and we discovered the darkness of the sky
descend into the dust
on the pavement.
It was time to sleep.
2- The curfew was announced by the Gulf Cartel with cars that raced down every street of the city. At that time, the lights of each property had to be turned off and it was not safe to go out. If this was not respected, the cars would stop and the men who rode them would slap the offender’s buttocks until they were burst with a piece of wood that looked like an oar.
Do you know how it feels to miss
something that never was? It´s weird. It
feels like being sit, with an inkless pen, in
front of the paper in which, partially, is
the story that could have once being ours.
Translated from Spanish to English: Mercedes Janeth Soto.