The Zebra

The Zebra

La cebra

Eduardo Mitre

Translated by Gabriel Mitre

No scripture as she:

Chalk and blackboard, page and ink

her skin covered in lines

that have spanned eras.


Her name: two clear syllables,

which together glimpse

the plains of Africa,

her family and the harem.


We discovered her startling image

in children’s books,

and saw her in various countries

often behind bars, wistful.


Her slender body crosses my memory

she stops, watches me,

and I find but the silence

that her rare beauty tells.


Sometimes she appears in the stables

of my dreams, and I lengthily stroke

her haunches, her neck, pleading

that her kind never become extinct.


She sleeps laying down or standing

but what, or who, does she dream of?

Does she remember when she awakes?

Does she recount it to her partner?


I stress the Z in her name: Zebra,

so the shadow of her presence

may better shine

and run across these lines.



Eduardo Mitre (Oruro, Bolivia, 1943) is the author of MoradaMirabiliaDesde tu cuerpoRazón ardienteFerviente humoElegía a una muchacha and  Líneas de otoño.  



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