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C.E. WALLACE —PARAGUAY—


C.E. Wallace is a Paraguayan-born poet and musician based in New York. By day, she runs a school for migrant children awaiting reunification with their families in the U.S. By night, she writes and makes music with her husband and very spoiled cat.


Her first book, Juego de Palabras, will be published in May 2023 by Valparaíso Ediciones. She is currently working on two new books – Seven Legendary Monsters, a Paraguayan mythology epic, and The Arcana, a poetic take on the tarot.


Accents Accents serve as secondary borders barbed wire fences on thirsty tongues separating the land of the dreamers from the dream a river crossing a steel wall a sign saying turn back. leave. we don’t want you here a mouth full of pebbles and a head full of dreams some smooth and polished lovingly on shirt tails some sharp and newly broken in waiting for tides of time to tumble them smooth their cracks remove their dusty shells and release their shining interior without realizing that the stones carried in soles of shoes become priceless gems on this side of the wall Acentos Los acentos sirven como fronteras secundarias alambre de púa murallas cruzando lenguas sedientas separando la tierra de los soñadores del sueño un cruce de río una pared de acero un letrero que dice vuelven pa’ tras no te queremos aquí La boca llena de guijarros y la cabeza llena de sueños algunos más suaves y pulidos con amor en las colas de camisa algunos agudos y recién quebrados esperando las mareas del tiempo para rodarlos alisar sus grietas retirar su polvo y liberar su brillo interior sin darse cuenta que las rocas que llevan en sus suelas se convierten en piedras preciosas en este lado de la pared


PB&J


América

Is a peanut Butter & jelly Sandwich The bitter taste of The American dream Sticky and persistent Mingleswith Salty tears América Is a peanut Butter & jelly Sandwich Bread that tastes Of empty promises Like styrofoam Mixed with azúcar América Is a peanut Butter & jelly Sandwich The way the sickly Jam seeps through The bread like the Blood of our ancestors And stains the pristine Whiteness América Is a peanut Butter & jelly Sandwich The price of freedom Comes at a cost Mouth glued shut Swallowing hard Past a tongue Already tied América Is a peanut Butter & jelly Sandwich Bread too soft Siempre sediento Nodding and smiling To appease As we choke It down América Is a peanut Butter & jelly Sandwich Foreign and unfulfilling The layered swirls El sabor de sueños Sitting heavy like a Stone in stomachs América Is a peanut Butter & jelly Sandwich Sick with fear Eating, eating And always wanting More, because América Is a peanut Butter & jelly Sandwich


Immigrant


Accents worn like ill-fitting shoes shiny and new pinching at the toes Cracked hands the color of earth buried deep in el sueño americano Dark hair braided with hope and sorrow obsidian waterfalls amidst a sea of white The taste of fear on tongues leaden with harsh consonants and guttural cries Choked back sobs and laughter gilded in gracia but not in gold Una alabanza on leathered lips, the faith of a village cupped in palms of hands Holding space for possibility steel-hearted and unafraid Tripping, falling just to rise again and again and again To bend, not to break on the wall that divides the “us” from “them” El río flowing between the dreamer and the dream


Indigenous Wisdom Roots deep In native soil Head in the clouds Balanced on Strands of Silver filigree Bound by knots Of ñandutí Connected to the Warp and weft Of the world The smell of burnt Yerba mate Sugar and carbón Hang in the air Like an unfinished Sentence She cradles the Human condition In her arms Red dirt between Her toes Waterfalls in Her eyes


The Cage

-after Alejandra Pizarnik


Mamá, mamá the bird’s turned cage. Does it still sing? Does it still sing? The dawn breaks. The cage sits empty. Mamá, mamá el pájaro se ha vuelto jaula. ¿Aún canta? ¿Aún canta? Rompe la alba. La jaula está vacia.



*Spanish version originally published by Valparaiso Ediciones, 2023


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