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Drawing by Eric List Crespo.

 

The Wall of Adobes

by

Germán List Arzubide

When Isabel told him yes, Juan Maria waited till Sunday and instead of playing his harmonica went to the field. Wrapped in his serape he found an adequate place and began to build his hut. He made adobe bricks from the pressed black earth and raised the first wall working in silence, listening to the morning unfold with the metallic song of the cicadas.

* * *

The foreman vomited swears that made the horse rear as if lashed by the jingling spurs . . . "A hut? With whose permission? Does he think it his land? ... Hah!...", and the crop fell like a lacerating oath.

* * *
They say yesterday Isabel took off for the city ... since Juan Maria couldn't build her no house ...
* * *

The wall of adobes stood alone at noon, parading its dark stain under the resentful sun.

* * *

The foreman approached. From the abandoned adobe wall in the field, a rifle's muzzle followed him ... followed him ... a shot ...  the afternoon bled itself on the foreman's lifeless body.

* * *

"Here", said the officer--Juan Maria took off his serape and put it at his feet, he leaned against the adobe wall and thought of Isabel who was away in the city. The five eyes of the muzzles stared at him implacably. The officer shouted "Fire!", and Juan Maria could see the earth grow black with his blood. Then night poured in on the monotonous song of a cricket.

Translated by Ben Tarver.



Two poems
The Rape of Ruben's Woman
Who is Germán List Arzubide?
100 years ...
An Interview ...