Ariel Francisco, translates of Francisco Henriquez Rosa



Translator's Bio: Ariel Francisco is the author of All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press, 2017) and Before Snowfall, After Rain (Glass Poetry Press, 2016). Born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents, he completed his MFA at Florida International University in Miami. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Academy of American Poets, The American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2016, Gulf Coast, Washington Square, and elsewhere. He lives and teaches in South Florida. 

Poet's Bio: Francisco Henriquez Rosa was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic in 1957. He graduated from the Dominican Journalism Institute in 1979 and in the same year immigrated to New York City where he attended Hostos Community College. His poetry has been published in magazines and newspapers throughout Argentina, Dominican Republic, New York, and Florida. He currently lives in Orlando where he is the coordinator of the writing group "La Tertulia de Orlando.”


Sleepless scorpion
serpent with night filled wings
a river that hardly enjoys its shores
canon with mysterious shells
endless walkway
that takes you
to the place you don’t go
you are like this, something like a mirror
where I don’t see myself
a crying smile
a sea of condemned salt. 

To see the light in darkness
of a obliged night
to ignore the pillow
and give way to nightmares
of being awake. 

Fly that digs
the strange sound of silence
moaning the pain of being alive
when death
is a crab
that walks between the sheets
and stars. 

I should sleep
I scream
with a hunger for peace
and yawn 

I should sleep
with boiling blood
in this darkness 

I should sleep
with my borrowed eyes
and groping heart.


Poem for the sea 

Mirrored blue, or green?
From a thousand faces
you resemble a night-breeze
and a storm.
Weave your light of salt
into every rock you illusioned
with these tide strikes
that mark your torment.
Sea, flattering and dense
sea of loves and illusions
sea that remembers
how in childhood
it was a giant
that never learned how to laugh.
Today I consider you from afar
yearning your salted sound
and your foamy love
like celestial sperm
waiting to find the flirting shore.
Your depth is not your beginning
or your color, your monument
the horizon, your friend
that makes believe you’re too far
disguising its arms in distance
making a port of a goodbye.


Silence’s shadow

I stared, fixated
in black and white
the brightness
of your eyes,
lost desire. 

I didn’t blink
she stared back at me
seeking in me
the reality of a life
that won’t end. 

I saw her mouth
her nose
even her facade
and whole face
marvelous in its mystery. 

I blinked
from staring so much,

I smiled, seeing
from above and below
from neck
to the final breeze
of her black hair,
and her, not even
a grin of life,
only silence’s shadows. 

Like this I slept
and awoke to her
in my left hand
with my thumb
caressing the photo.


© The Acentos Review 2018