Maricela Guerrero

Translated from Spanish by Robin Meyers

Once upon a time there was a world in which cells dreamed only of becoming cells and this dream flowed along in vernacular tongues:

then we started a race to discover combustion to fabricate magnitudes in the language of empire that the idea of empire itself imposed: sometimes it seems we lost we broke we acquiesced to cages, zoos, botanic gardens:

offices locomotive vehicles rapid altius fortius:

although, in the vacant lot next door: life bustles on and I grow sappy and simplistic: I like to think that if I make a tree grow we’ll be able to talk and listen to each other like this: shared breath, parallel perspectives: a wolf, a crab: mauve anemones: courage and an embrace in an album of the shapes of the leaves once clutched by hands

sluices and dams across the language of empire: with its magnitude and measurements:

although you find yourself in the same city nine kilometers and one meter away a 20-minute drive with no traffic you’re still farther than the sequoia that the woman couldn’t save than the woods being felled at this very moment or the spring patrolled this very afternoon by people with guns: I’m going to plant a tree.

I’m speaking here in what I’ve got because breathing with you is a breath-producing transformation.

Encouragement is a whole warm form of resistance. Becoming a cell that dreams of becoming cells.

Maricela Guerrero (Mexico City, 1977) is the author of nine poetry collections. El sueño de toda célula (Ediciones Antílope/Instituto Veracruzano de la Cultura, Mexico City, 2018) won the Clemencia Isaura Prize in 2018. Cardboard House Press published her book Kilimanjaro, translated by Stalina Villareal, in 2018. Guerrero has been a member of Mexico’s prestigious SNCA (National System of Artists). Her work has also been translated into German, Swedish, and French.