Shy People in the New Reality

Los tímidos en la nueva realidad

We’ve been rehearsing this for years:

the elbow bump, less a greeting than a defense,
where like porcupines we rear to opposite sides,
joining our pointy bits,
with the soft ones nicely guarded;

the subtle hand wave and the nod
where like Queen Mothers we acknowledge you politely
only desiring a dark pantry and a tea;

and need I say the hand,
reserved for the worst offenders
who persist?

Then there’s the mask,
which when we find you in a hallway or a street
frees us from timing or recomposing
the sacrosanct disorder of our faces.


Llevamos años ensayándolo:

el choque de codos, menos saludo que defensa,
donde cual erizos nos lanzamos cada uno a un lado,
juntando las partes puntiagudas
con lo mullido a buen recaudo,
la leve inclinación o bien de mano o cabeza
donde cual Reinas Madres os reconocemos
mientras soñamos con despensas e infusiones.
¿Y qué decir de la mano interpuesta,
reservada para aquellos incorregibles
que reinciden?
Luego está la mascarilla, 
que al encontraros por la calle o el pasillo 
nos libra de concertar
el sanctum sanctorum de nuestras caras desordenadas.

Emily R. Frankenberg (Princeton, New Jersey , 1981) has resided in Seville, Spain since 2006. She writes in both Spanish and English, and her work has appeared in publications from various countries. Currently, she is self-studying the Latin language and Roman literature.

See more of her work in 8.4 and 8.4 again

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