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from Breach

de Falta
by Pilar Fraile Amador
Translated from Spanish by
Lizzie Davis



blue petals of poppies open and eclipse the pistils the round
and invisible seeds. kids germinate with swollen bellies. the
walls of the room grow. not toward heaven. the switch for
low tide doesn’t work

fish bathed in petroleum. its body suspended and shining on
the lip of a beach. this is paradise

a hand before infinite light



the extendable glass eye focuses

kids who open an apple and eat its bleeding core
excited by the ringing they eat as if
they were hands and eyes a plate of minerals for their
ribbed knees and ancient hands
focus their black light. open mouth living on mollusks
high-angle howling of bellies opened vermillion the
torrent cut from their throats









before the question the double animal was on
the border. don’t stop recording he said and then the algae
like hands the dorsal scar the bodies washing up along
the beach. we can’t get the focus right. not in this light. the
whales have been here already. they left their
skeletons gigantic cribs in the sand. after
insects chewed until they sunk

they chewed the bones and the vacancy of the bones










I wanted to see it all covered by snow. wanted
objects to surface from a white mantle of snow. legs
knees masts sprouting up from exterior’s
almost ludicrous thickness. don’t you see
the value of the shot he asked. the others ran across
the vacant lot with tools with butcher knives
and lanterns capable of melting ice. once
again the light was insufficient










the ritual men lift and lower bulks on the
scale of the ocean

cut articulations ventilation tube contraction the
hair touching interior cavities. squirrels
chew the tendon. hooked hands that pull at
kneecap and alveoli

like the north they go on growing

turn off the floodlights to see underneath stones










they’re not the insects that eat white meat.

grasping the wall with suckers like teeth
they eliminate dust and signs of rain. fallen leaves fallen
cement lamps. instruction begins
on the hour in the central corner of the park. the
women collect the legs and point them upwards. there are
men with camouflage pants running
between hedges














the fog the wind speed the repetitions was it
you who saw the bodies the animal sequence
of the frieze the fog the ruin of juniper
was it you who decided which instruments which rusted
snares which chains stayed outside the frame which
screams outside audible frequency?










they bottled the eyes by
size and degree of maturation

if they had asked he would have said flames
chased one white silhouette. but
no one believes a witness. not under these

he passed emergency exits. immaculate
annexes perfect locks
one arrow pointing the right way another the
forbidden one

he accelerated into the opening when it seemed it might

the eye didn’t adjust to the artificial light

for a long time. the form the flames chased
stuck to the wall. a crossing light with
its lid continually open

if they had asked he would have conceded a few
seconds to remember the white flames the numbers
inscribed in red circles










they tried to deduce, by level of damage,
proximity to the incident. that’s why they kept
moving them around. pouring substances into the
inert retinas. they regretted the lack of objective record

behind the opening the black split in two by
white marks stayed intact. was that
the right way? monitors warned of low
temperatures. they demanded the lights be kept
if they had asked him he would have inhaled

next to the eyes they arranged sound
recordings. the steady buzz then nothing. they
played them again and again and noted down seconds and

what happened with the cameras was never explained

the reproduction a rasping granite gray.
then black no signals no minute hands

so they only had the eyes

if they had asked he would have said in the
rearview mirrors the lights came too
quickly and beads of water struck the dash
with precise frequency. but no one believes
a witness. not under these conditions








they’re not gray anymore. they change while you’re watching, don’t they?

they’re behind the bright spots. or maybe not. blinking. dark
matter. he says. the centuries trapped in this star dust. nothing
to feed the lenses. this is where we were headed

blind bowmen aiming from the past










remnants of metal made by the impact. he says. yes it must be
that one. or shriveled parts carbonized clothes. it’s soft. he says.
like taxidermied shells. or dust

there are other remains in the background. a trail. if we
stay here they’ll go on appearing. dead skin
or shed carapace. the oxygen will run out

and it will be us

and it will be us










how strange. he says. I wouldn’t have imagined them this way.
affixed to one another. like chains.

this surface. I don’t think we can stay here
without losing something. something precious. the places that don’t sink the
hand. shadows dreamed before being seen. could
they be birds

that’s it. birds outside of time










what did I tell you. they go off in every direction. focus. sooner or
later they’ll come. for water. the touch of green. they must

show up tired, legs asleep. it’s
happening. the whole herd

no. they’re chalk. or disappeared

it’s happening right in front of us










test the lifejackets. the air chamber. the emergency
exit. clouds a bed of cotton below
us. what did I tell you

tiny rooftops. lines across the surface. green. brown.
maybe highways or rivers. something dividing the land. then
stains. just white stains in the jagged crust like


to see you have to gather traces




Original text: Pilar Fraile Amador, “Iluminación,” “Punto de vista,” and “Primer plano” from Falta. Madrid: Amargord Ediciones, 2014.

Pilar Fraile Amador is a poet and fiction writer. Apart from Falta, she has published four volumes of poetry and a short story collection, Los nuevos pobladores. Her first novel, Las ventajas de la vida en el campo, is forthcoming from Penguin Random House this spring.
Lizzie Davis is a translator from Spanish and Italian to English and editor at Coffee House Press. Her recent projects include My First Bikini by Elena Medel (Jai-Alai Books) and a co-translation of Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions with Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House Press). Her translation of Juan Cárdenas’s Ornamental is forthcoming from Coffee House Press in 2020.