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Unfoldings · Clara Eugenia Ronderos
Unfoldings · Clara Eugenia Ronderos


Collected from several volumes of Clara Eugenia Ronderos’ Spanish poetry and translated to English by the author and Mary G. Berg, Unfoldings represents an astounding retrospective of the award winning poet’s work previously unavailable in English.

Read excerpts
Once upon a time

You thought that milk and bread
came from the corner store
and that all would be ease and joy
like in a fairy tale.

You thought diapers were white and never stained
and that the garden and the kitchen
would have to obey the abracadabra of the white dress
reflected in the mirror
and in the camera’s glass.
“…and they lived happily…” summarized
the story that you were just beginning.

(the swollen belly hidden under the veil
and the nausea after the champagne
said, maybe not.)

Said that the king would want to rule
over your palace
and that the marvelous spinners
would leave you with the impossible task of straw and gold,
and that your deformed lip and your gigantic thumb
and your foot would carry the weight
of that yearning for king and kingdom
that dragged you there.

The palace door has closed.
The guards are sleeping off their drunkenness
(in the kitchen or in the back patio,
exiled princess, you rue the day)

The milk gone sour and thick
and the moldy bread demand your care
and the indelible stain and the white nights without silence
and you, so innocent to think…

Low Tide

This morning the sea roars with silent fury
and the sand wears a festive bullfighter’s suit.
The music of accordions
steeps in the salty swaying
of the breeze
and I am happy.
Lost in disorder, covered by salt and light,
by that which is not me
and is everything when it blends with me
this morning, I smile
by the coming and going of the sea.

Swollen sail
amid an immense quiet
from which the full roundness of the horizon
can be seen.

The North

In this weird country
I’m given too much food
and loneliness.
They give me too much sex
and loneliness.
Gold and heaped up treasures
and loneliness.
They supply me with names and numbers
and so much, for me, so much
loneliness they give me here.
And dreams to dream
they bring in loneliness
and offer paradise,
steam-pressured speed,
and loneliness.
They also
sell you
jars and labels
and recipes
for happiness.
You open them
without finding
anything other
than more of the same
lonely loneliness
to me and to you and me.

About the Author

Clara Eugenia Ronderos, a Colombian-American poet and short-story writer, is a retired Professor of Spanish at Lesley University. Ronderos holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Literature from University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her recent publications include The Poetry of Clara Eugenia Ronderos: Seasons of Exile Lewiston NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2015, Mary. G. Berg’s translation of her prize-winning collection Estaciones en Exilio (2010); as well as Ábrete Sésamo,Torremozas, Madrid: 2016 (short stories), De Reyes y Fuegos, Torremozas, Madrid: 2018 (poetry); Después de la Fábula, Verbum, Madrid: 2018 (poetry); and Agua que no has de beber (short stories) Alción, Córdoba, Argentina: 2019.

She currently lives between West Brookfield, Massachusetts and Subachoque, Colombia. Her location in rural settings in two different parts of the world informs much of her work in progress.

Copyright © 2022 Clara Eugenia Ronderos

Cover design by d’Entremont

ISBN 978-1-949279-42-9

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.

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