The animal hungers

for light and strength

He hungers


Killing himself while hunting


fatally and the last


Hunger springs



There are beasts without burden

that dance / grow fiery

They warily drink water


Famine distorts

Tea or sugar or bread

or fuel

or a tender hand?


The animal hungers

for goodness


The famished grow fat

leaving scraps for neither him

nor her

who remained with her cubs


The animal hungers

Tramps through trenches


up slopes

Sets out


He rears up on both paws and ransacks a beehive

Spreads his wings and throws himself from a cliff


The animal hungers

when he moves with the flock

or sells his lungs, his eyes

his goodness, his fury

hangs from meat hooks


There is no slaughterer without slaughterhouses

there is a journal. a story. a bus


and the barrio where he who writes grew up


There are massacres


Slaughterers dressed as generals in plastic aprons

or doctors in white coats

the chemists the priests enrobed


Or gold buttons / stripes

or suits


or sweaty


When the animal hungers

Everything trembles

Books crumble

The earth quakes


Autumn flowers bloom in the garden

In the gazebo unreal and necessary

the breeze rushes

people stroll by


Home is one

who smokes sitting in the patio of his house

or in a hotel

or silently waits in the corner of his


or lingers outside

until they open the door


Hunger squeezes through crevices

Cuts grooves


Climbs fences



But the animal doesn’t wait

grows weak or devours

He is hungry

and cold


He doesn’t know how to live

with pain and anguish

but tries


He prepares tea / bathes

or doesn’t


He has had enough



Dips his bread


Sits still a moment

Jesús Sepúlveda teaches at the University of Oregon in Eugene. He is the author of eight collections of poetry and three books of essays, including his green-anarchist manifesto, The Garden of Peculiarities, and his book on Latin American poetry, Poets on the Edge.

Translated from Spanish by Bill Rankin