Carmen Boullosa

Translated by Lawrence Schimel

Losing, Losing

I lost my life to the roulette wheel. It wasn’t voluntary.
I’m addicted
to gambling,

had only that left to bet.

I lost my life, just that.
I was looking the other way
when the dice escaped from my fingers.

The demon gathered them up before I could see their faces.

“I won,” he told me.

leaving no room for chance, the devil seized me.


I wasn’t a robinsoncrusoe,
nor did I bite the apple like some eve,
nor follow in drake’s footsteps,
nor discover the x-rays that later revealed your bones.

No, I didn’t take part in assaults on foreign ports,
I didn’t travel, I didn’t explore, I didn’t capsize in storms, I neither discovered nor renewed.
I did nothing at all.

I was expelled from eden but not of my own accord.

Old Age

Like a fish out of water,
dehydrating, the dry skin of the elderly loses its firmness, it wrinkles. Jawbones want to undress themselves, disgusted by their ugly covering. Skulls are in a hurry to be uncovered.

But we elderly are not like fish out of water, because without water a fish dies.
Our lives are not rivers,
that go to empty into the sea.

A dry riverbed, mankind,
forgetting everything, senile,

returns to its childhood.


*From HAMARTIA HATCHET by Carmen Boullosa (©2020  White Pine Press).


Carmen_BoullosaCarmen Boullosa (Mexico 1954) is a leading Mexican poet, novelist and playwright. She has authored more than 30 titles.

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