My father was soon afraid of having been born.
But he soon remembered also
the duties of a man
and they taught him
to pray, to save, to work.
So that soon my father was a good man.
(“A real man”, my grandfather would say).
– like a dog whining, muzzled
and tied to a stake – fear persisted
at the core of my father.
Of my father,
who as a boy had sad eyes, and as an old man
hands as solemn and as clean
as silence at dawn.
And always, always, the air of a lonely man.
So that when I was born my father gave me
all that his disoriented heart
knew how to give. And that included
the loving gift of his fear.
As an upright man, my father worked each morning
and got around each night and, when he was able to,
he bought in installments the little death
he always wished to have.
He paid for it strictly,
without any anxiety, year after year,
like an upright man, my good old father.
Translation: 2005, Nicolás Suescún.
Spanish: Biografía De Un Hombre Con Miedo
© Piedad Bonnett