Mónica de la Torre




Uno. Un silencio, una llamarada.
Un sorbo de café antes de que supiera amargo.
Un hoyo dentro de un agujero.
Dos caminos para una trayectoria
y sus ojos cerrados durmiendo la siesta.
Cuántos espejos son dos.
Cae la tarde y aparecen dos luces,
dos hijos que ya son tres.
Tres es paz y garantía,
un cómplice, un enemigo.
Tres libros abiertos, tres granos de sal.  

Cuatro veces dije un nombre y nada.
Cuatro es lo mismo que dos.

Y si cinco veces te preguntas
qué hago aquí, quema tu cama
déjala arder y vete.


Equivalent Equivalence


A mute flare
a sip of coffee before the bitter one knew about it.
A hole inside a whole two roads
and a pair of sleeping eyes.
How many mirrors are there too?
The afternoon tumbles and two lights pop out
two children passing as tú.
3 space guarantee
the promise of a complex and an enemy
free open books, 3 grams of salt.
I said four asterisks and named nothing.
What is the same as to ______?
Yes, 5 times you wonder what I do here?
Light your bed on fire, let it combust and divide itself. 


Picture Character


Finger pointing up. Zipper-Mouth Face,
and an angular burst of orange and red in star-like shape.
Scrunched Eyes after a hot beverage.
A heavy large red circle that stands for what is correct in Japan.
There is room inside of rightness for what is right.
A Pedestrian faces two motorways.
Eyeballs shut turn into Sleeping Face.
A selfie of a selfie leads to question mark.
Night sky, two light bulbs.
Family: Man, Woman, Girl, Boy, followed by number three.
Dove, ring,
Grinning Face with Smiling Eyes. Pouting Face is snubbed.
Three books plus saltshaker.
Four clocks show different random times.
Speaking Head emits registered sign, then empty speech balloon.
Four equal sign two.

Five clocks show different random times.
Thinking Face, index pointing to a world map, question mark.
Flames plus bed, plus flames and more flames
and person running with large stride and arms outstretched.

If has no pictogram.   


Equivalence Equivalency


UNO. Um solemnly, Ina llama dada.
Um Sorbonne de café antes de que super smart.
Um boho denture de um sfumato.
Dos casinos para ulna trajectories
Y sue know surmise do la siesta.
Chanting selenide son dos
Car la yard y spared dos lives,
Dos yoyos queen ya son tres.
Tres Esc. pass y Varangian,
Um compile, um evenly.
Tres libidos abort, tres franks de sal.
CIA vexes duh dime too bomb y nada.
CIA Esc. lo gizmo queer dos.
Y Si cinch vexes etc. pregnant
Queen aqua queer too came
Female ardor y veteran.



                     puerta corrediza
Behind the sliding glass door, a cinderblock wall
                                                     bloque de ceniza

demarcates a small concrete patio.

A window-shaped opening frames a shrub

of many branches growing on the slope.

Or is intended to frame, if intentionality can be attributed to a hole.

The shrub, like all living things, surpasses the wall’s edges.

Two dirt-covered outdoor chairs, of a hue
                                       autoridades    sombra

of blue that wavers between deep sky blue and azure.
    triste       ondear    en medio de

Facing each other and empty, their colors mirror
                                       vano     su carácter

the plastic in the abandoned dustpan and broom at the outer edge,

tilting toward the soil, as if to sweep it up.

The cleaning liquid’s solvents discolored the chairs.

Three chemical agents account for the faded

hue: denatured alcohol, methyl alcohol, and ethyl acetate.

Four continuous, discrete sounds, all announcing nothing:
a screech, a hammering, a siren, a buzz.
                                         nereida      cuchicheo, telefonazo

hacer chatarra           nervioso
Totaling five. The top edges of the patio’s walls and an angular adjacent roof jut against
the landscape to bring geometry into sharper focus. The building knows what to do there.


Equivocal Valences


A noun, a silent one, despite the assertiveness of such parts
of speech. An IOU of sorts, from a person like a lama, not a llama,
ridding us of free radicals, figuratively, with his glowing orbs.
I nursed a decaf while he upped the ante, promising pie in the sky.
A woman named Margo explained that although holmium (Ho) plays
no biological role in humans, its salts quicken your metabolism.
“There’s a dent in my car! It’s no hot rod, but still,” some guy nagged
as I was heading back on my bike. I’d either done damage or it was a scam.
I preferred not to spar, so produced an ashtray, since he was fuming.
He went on hectoring. I, a bit deferential for the sake of all of us,
and that of my radius, kept my unruffled mien (à la Alcott) and got away
                                                                                           singing do re mi fa sol la siesta…
In the dream, there is an infant son, and I am elated, ardently motherly
despite the kids’ yapping. Are they ever to end? Osmium (Os) is the densest
of natural elements, Margo says, now in the dream. Lucky for me,
I’ll get a dose of instruction while I yak about my son. In medias res,
I can be such as spaz, I’ve forgotten the man’s rant. I’ve got a companion
and have missed that my kid’s got lice and might need an enema. I go on
ad-libbing and ask Rosa, who also happens to be Margo, if she too is bifid,
snake-like. Osmium is the densest of natural elements. She utters repeated nos;
our differences become salient. “Where’s the trove of documents I found?
Their relevance might be nominal, but still.” She brays, laughing, “Nada;
no sé nada. At least it’s not roe,” almost in slo-mo.
This is unrealism. Its dos and don’ts made corporeal. Take a step, face a gun.
No one’s haggling. With her IQ, I’d rise from the mat, steady my cam,
record déjà vu, and arduously vet elements such as these.


Mónica de la Torre works with and between languages.
Her latest book, The Happy End/All Welcome, was published
by Ugly Duckling Presse, which also put out her translation of
Defense of the Idol by Chilean modernist Omar Cáceres in
2018. Born and raised in Mexico City, she is a contributing
editor to BOMB Magazine. Recent writing appears in Artforum,
A Public Space, and The Literary Review. A new book of poems
and translations, Repetition Nineteen, is forthcoming from
Nightboat in 2020. She has taught at Columbia and Brown
University and currently teaches poetry at Brooklyn College.