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Written by Almijara Barbero Carvajal and translated by Christopher Yates. Read the original in Spanish.

You ask me if I am going.
What fear comes from my thoughts to this house.
I don’t respond, I see her outside,
she has the salt of the ocean stuck to her fingers,
she has a laugh similar to mine,
she waits for the instinct of a bird,
to flutter around my head and to go down,
to scratch on the skin where she was born,
to fly without wings.
She is like a vulture
taking my eyes towards the glass,
always open, always mine.

You hear her,
that rattling noise that frightens me.
She has come and now the sky shall be filled with birds
and the earth shall be deafened by birds
and the sea shall be covered by birds.
She shall speak of me with the beasts,
She shall speak and with her voice all shall be so true
that it shall extinguish the tongues and the teeth
and the lips and the mouths,
mountains shall open up
to the heart of human nature,
and there shall be no damned man to care for it.

Between her and I shall row a thousand ships,
and I shall hardly recognize the air that I breathe,
nor the sides of my own body
tracing time as if how to live could be forgotten,
as if some part will have died
and I will not know what pain,
what blood is not mine, what have I,
why does it smell like you without knowing you.

You will ask me why, since I’m going,
when there are traces of varnish on what I’ve created
and fire being born of my lungs,
let me burn
as if the sun were a fire
that must consume me!
and the rocks return to being rocks
and I return to being me:
part of an undeniable reality.

If it is true, if I’ll be gone
leaving oxygen in place of footprints,
because I was fraying,
pale as if they had torn out
the only word that is mine alone
and I would stutter and tremble in panic
of breaking myself forever.

You shall shout that it’s not true
that not I, that not you,
that we were not born of language,
but it is a lie and she is watching me,
she tells me “it’s a lie” and she is watching me
You will say “don’t go” and I will go,
you will say “don’t go” and I will go,
you will say don’t go but I have already left.

Almijara Barbero Carvajal was born in Motril (Spain) and is still trying to figure out how to become real. Her short stories have appeared in the anthology Alucinadas II and in MaMut Magazine.
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18 Sep 2023

Ama’s arm rested protectively around the girl’s shoulder as the giant bird glided above, its head angling right to left. Violet-black wings soared across a cloudless sky, blocking the sun’s midday rays and swathing sections of the village in deep shadow. Given its size, this argentavis was one of her first, but too far above for her to differentiate by name. Even across the distance, Ama could feel its heartbeat synced to hers, their lives intertwined until death.
She is leaving the world that is pink with desire, on her gray cardboard rocket ship.
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