Maricela Guerrero

Translated from Spanish by Robin Meyers

Who knows how a date palm could possibly have ended up all the way over here in these wild times in the vacant lot next door: and the madness of the wind and the rain: the palm tree pleased and plump: once an Algerian poet brought us a little box of sweet gleaming dates and asked me to take care of myself; the date palm grows and doesn’t seem to miss the desert, doesn’t flaunt distress and does bear fruit and takes care of itself as if planting an idea of escape, a return to the revolution of dates, as if planning to take to the streets and resist; date palms in this city as if to say that rebellion is possible and to nourish hopes unthought in the ocean in the desert in the city in the palm grove of Elche.

Some hours away, after several flights and connections, we’d find Istanbul and the countries of the Maghreb:

A single date contains 21 grams of water and vitamin C for resisting and sustaining itself in the desert. The date palm is a sweetener, composed of seventy percent sugar. Date comes from daktylos, fingers used to point out states and nations enmeshed in war and resistance against the extraction of blood and hydrocarbons: with iron, phosphorous, vitamin A, rivoflavin; the date palm and its fruit resist transfers and exchanges: a date is possible and necessary in other places, perhaps as prickly pear patches are necessary in Asia or Africa, the biodiversity that suffers the kinds of transfers calculated in agroeconomic offices where no dissenting voices sound: it’s strange: how can we possibly listen to dissent without combatting it other than just letting it flow forth like some beautiful experience of staying here and now:

[we’re here together and we embrace the fear, we cling to the teats of a she-wolf who feeds us and lulls us to sleep: she nestles us onto her back and we breathe:]

Dates boiled in milk clean out the respiratory tracts. Dates brought to lovers’ mouths are aphrodisiacs. Dates for resisting in the Canary Islands and Africa and the Far East and the vacant lot next door:

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.