There Was No Plot

translated by Forrest Gander
A photograph of a door in a pink wall through which we can see another doorway that opens into an orange room
Photo: Analusie Gamboa / Unsplash

There were neither plots nor characters,
only places. Neighborhoods sliced
in half. Terraces and corridors
between roofless rooms. Profiles only. 
spaces. Far off a group
was sucked up
into its own restlessness: the after-dinner
conversation, the waiting, shuffle between 
one door and another, shifts
in posture; remarks that from here,
where you hurried to leave, 
were already beyond hearing.

Translation from the Spanish

Coral Bracho’s (b. 1951) early work altered the landscape of Mexican poetry. She is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the Aguascalientes National Poetry Prize, Xavier Villaurrutia Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Bracho has collaborated with several painters and is a member of Mexico’s National Organization of Artists.

Photo by Ashwini Bhat

Forrest Gander, born in the Mojave Desert, lives in California. A translator and multigenre writer with degrees in geology and literature, he’s the recipient of numerous awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize and the Best Translated Book Award. His most recent title is Twice Alive.