Shenandoah Volume 68, Number 1
Volume 68, Number 1 · Fall 2018

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no lo que la lengua
habla sino la lengua en su rosada carne,
vulva de otra cavidad,
no las delicias de la lengua
en su sonora luminosidad
de hacerse agua,
no el sentido en la palabra
sino ese instrumento de
felicidad ardiendo dentro,
córnea de lo invisible
al tacto ciego,
no el pacto de entender
sino la comprensión mordida
hasta hacer sangre
y ver cómo
la letra entra entera.

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Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Rose Bradford

not what the tongue says
but the tongue in its rosy flesh,
vulva of another hollow,
not the tongue’s pleasures
in sonorously luminous
mouth-melt,
not the word’s meaning
but that instrument of
happiness burning within,
cornea of what’s invisible
to sightless touch,
not the accord of understanding
but comprehension gnawed
till blood is drawn
till we see how
the letter slips in whole.


Liliana Lukin was born in Buenos Aires in 1951 and is a poet and educator who has been quite active in literary and cultural activities in Buenos Aires, having been a consultant for the General San Martín Cultural Center, for the Noble Foundation for their writers’ series, and having founded the Centroimargen interdisciplinary cultural space. Known for her penchant for philosophical topics and her reflections on words, politics, and history with a tension between what is individual and what is collective, she has published a great number of poetry collections including Abracadabra, 1978; Malasartes, 1981; Descomposición, 1986; Cortar por lo Sano, Carne de Tesoro, 1990; Cartas, 1992; Las preguntas, 1998; retórica erótica, 2002; Construcción comparativa, 2003; Teatro de Operaciones. Anatomía y Literatura, 2007; El Libro Del Buen Amor, 2015. Her books have been translated into German and French and her verse has been included in various international anthologies and magazines.

Lisa Rose Bradford—poet, translator, musician, and rancher—teaches comparative literature at the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina. Recipient of the National Translation Award, she recently published her fifth bilingual collection of Juan Gelman’s poetry, Today/Hoy with Co.im.press. As coeditor of Voz feroz/Ferocious Voice, an anthology of Argentine and Uruguayan women poets, she is at present translating works by Liliana Lukin, Juana Bignozzi, and Mirta Rosenberg.