Drops Fell on the Roof

                                        Translation by Tyehimba Jess with Ana Castillo


Tic, tic, tic,
tic, tic, tic…
A stab
in the chest of the country

and the night didn’t blink
that Valentine’s Day.

A tic, tic, tic fell on the roof
and no one slept, not my love, not the dog, not me

with the news of the latest massacre.
Seventeen children lost their lives.

Students, poets, leaders of the future,
it was seventeen souls that time.

Seventeen, count them in their coffins,
that will never grow older.

Seventeen sons and daughters. Count, if you can,
the screams of the parents and the people.

Domestic terrorism so rampant
in a place that calls itself democracy,

that has made death banal. It began centuries ago.
Men with weapons, haters of humanity, lovers of power

now, they take off their masks, their costumes,
with the blessing of Mr. President. Tic, tic, tic…

drops fell from the sky, and nobody slept,
not my love, not the dog, not me.


From My Book of the Dead, copyright © 2021 Ana Castillo, published by University of New Mexico Press, 2021.