Two Poems

translated by 
Jesus Never Understood My Grandmother's Prayers
Photo by Marjan Lazarevski
 

 

Jesucristo’is Ja’ Ñäjktyäj’ya Äj’ Tzumama’is Kyionuksku’y

Äj’ tzumama’is ja’ myuspäkä’ kastiya’ore
natzu’ jyambä’ä ngyomis’kyionukskutyam
natzu’ xaä’ tumä nabdzu’
jyambäukam yanuku’is musokiu’tyam
Äj’ tzumama’is wyanjambana’ jujche’ ore’omorire’na
Muspabä tä’ tzamä’sawa’jin
tese’ kujtnebya’na eyabä’ ngomis wyinan’omoram
tese’na konukspa chokoyjin ni’ijse
Jesucristo’is ja’ myajna kyonujksku’y
te’ yore äj’ dzumamas’ñye
ñä’ ijtu’na pomarrosas yoma’ram
tese’ sunkbana’ tumä’ matza
wyrün’omoram wadbasenaka’
San Miguel Arkangel’is ja’ myajna’ kyänuksku’y
äj’tzumama’is kyänuksku’y wenen’omo yaxonguy’tyam’dena’
jukis’tyt numbana’ tese’ poyajpana te’ toya’ram
patsoke wejpana’ tese’ te’ Sungä mita’na yängu’kyämä
Te’ yängu’kyämärike pänayaju’ kuyay’yune’ram


Jesus Never Understood My Grandmother’s Prayers

My grandmother never learned Spanish
was afraid of forgetting her gods
was afraid of waking up in the morning
without the prodigals of her offspring in her memory.
My grandmother believed that you could only
talk to the wind in Zoque
but she kneeled before the saints
and prayed with more fervor than anyone.
Jesus never heard her
my grandmother’s tongue
smelled like rose apples
and her eyes lit up when she sang
with the brightness of a star.
Saint Michael the Archangel never heard her
patsoke she yelled and time paused beneath her bed.
In that same bed she birthed her seven sons.

 

Nereyda’is myabaxäyu nwyt New’York 

Nereyda’is myabaxäyu nwyt New’York
ne’ yamumä’ kiene tumä tuku’ ma’aomo ñoyibäis Macy’s 
tumä ore’yomo 
tumä pabiñomo pänajubä’ dä’ najsomo’ram 
tumä’ nkiae ne’ pyoyubä koxtaksi’ 
ne’ chajkienbäu’bäis dyagbajk’ajku’y 
Yanu’ku’is myuja’ajkujxye’ 
jaya’ iri’ nijuräbä kubgu’y nasakobajk’omo 
yäjse’ tejse’ yenu’ ojse’jin 
te’ nkiäram takyajubä pakakis’ 
kawa’ wä’ yispüjkiaju te’ tzama ja’ yispäjkia’äjse xis’ 
jiksek’ Ngiomi te’ nasakobajk’ 
Tzitzungätzäjk’mäbä 
Tumä mätzik’ wane’rire’na 
juwä’ yagbajk’unestam’ wyä’ñayajpana ñyatzku’tyam 
Teje te Pinakate jenere’na natzkuxebä’ 
Tumä ne’pyakäyubä’ pabiñomo’koroya
teje’ te tojtzubä’najs Sonorasñye’ jenere’na mujabä’
wäkä pyatayaä’ pyajk’ käwanubä poyo’omoram
Nereyda’is myabaxäyu nwyt New’York
ne’ yamumä’ kiene tumä tuku’ ma’aomo ñoyibäis Macy’s
Nasakobajk’ uka mujspa manä’ 
minä’ pinja’ yanima
minä’ yajk’ tzunja’ kyändätzä’ tumä’moneko’ majkis yames’ñye
minä’ nobujta’ dyajxu’tzujkayajubä’ xys’
minä’ yajk’ tujkwiruä kyae’omo
te’ kyae’ myätzäbya’bäsna tzaune’ram 
ijtyajubä te’ tzitzungätzojkis’myeya’omo 
minä’ tejin’ käminä’

minä’

 

Nereyda Dreamed in New York

Nereyda dreamed in New York
contemplating her reflection in a Macy’s window
a migrant ore’yomo
a girl born in the Tzitzun empire
a girl fleeing barefoot
The grandness of her lineage could never
be compared to any other kingdom
but she grew up hungry
and her hands chapped by the cold
knew the countryside better than they know her own body
so Nasakobajk from the majesty of the Tzitzungätzojk
was just a music box
where the orphan girls stored their fear
But the Pinacate was too rural
for a cold girl
but the Sonora desert was very big
to find her skeleton hunched among the dunes
Nereyda dreamed in New York
contemplating her reflection in a Macy’s window
Oh Nasakobajk if you can hear her
draw near to gather her soul
draw near to satiate her 500-year thirst
draw near to rescue her injured body
draw near to turn her back into a girl
the one that played with the pebbles
that surround Tzitzun’s crater
draw near to her
draw near

Translated from Zoque by way of Spanish
By David Shook


Photo by Álvaro Figueroa

Mikeas Sánchez was born in Chiapas, Mexico in 1980. She writes in her native language, Zoque, spoken by about 70,000 indigenous Mexicans in the southern state of Chiapas. In addition to her work as a poet, she is a translator and director of the indigenous radio program XECOPA. She earned a master’s in education at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She has published two books of poetry, produced several bilingual albums, and contributed to many anthologies of indigenous poetry. 

David Shook is a contributing editor to World Literature Today. He’s currently translating Lima’s selected works in Los Angeles, where he is editor of Phoneme Media.

World Literature Today
630 Parrington Oval, Suite 110
Norman, OK 73019-4037
405-325-4531



Updated by World Literature Today: [email protected]