from Marina Yuszczuk’s Single Mother
translated by Alexis Almeida
When I was young a girl my mom used to make a pumpkin tart that I loved, now I want to eat something like that but I asked her and she doesn’t remember it, not even having made it once. It was orange because of the pumpkin, pretty sweet and moist. But I don’t know, maybe my mom made it a few times and it stuck only with me. Or maybe she just made it once? How many times does the past take place?
A red and blue lamp, that turns and is reflected on part of the ceiling and the wall. I got it for my birthday and I didn’t use it much until those first nights; I needed light to feed every time the baby woke up. Babies shouldn’t have to sleep in the dark because the dark can swallow them up; I don’t know how I’m going to go back to sleeping in the dark one day. After months of turning without glitches the lamp started to trip-up, sometimes it turns off, but then you jiggle the plug and it turns back on. Having a lamp lit is like feeding a fire.
The desire to bite down.
The days that followed I looked at myself in the mirror and I looked the same as my son, with his face. With a baby’s face but in my face, I don’t know how to explain it but it was exactly like that and it was crazy. One night I left him sleeping in my bed and went to the other bedroom to see if I could rest a little, because sleeping next to him I was too alert, and in the darkness an incredible anxiety overtook me, I think I started to move my arms like a newborn. I felt like I was a baby and that I had been abandoned, that I had been left alone. Those first days, every few minutes I touched my face with my hand the same as him, no one realized it. And I’m not talking about “it was like,” but literally everything I’m saying. Also, writing was impossible, like breaking or damaging a state of complete insanity.
Everything that happens to us is sacred but of the everyday sacred, this means:
we don’t need gods
we need time
Alexis Almeida is a poet, translator, and essayist who lives in Providence, RI. Her translation of Marina Yuszczuk's Single Mother is forthcoming from Spork Press in 2019.
Marina Yuszczuk is poet, novelist, journalist, and film critic. She currently lives in Buenos Aires.