poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Luis Alberto Ambroggio



If each brick could speak;
if each bridge could speak;
if the parks, plants, flowers could speak;
if each piece of pavement could speak,
they would speak Spanish.

If the towers, roofs,
air conditioners could speak;
if the churches, airports, factories could speak,
they would speak Spanish.

If the toils could bloom with a name,
they would not be called stones but Sánchez,
González, García, Rodriguez, José or Peña.

But they cannot speak.
They are hands, works, scars,
that for now keep silent.
Or perhaps not anymore.



Si cada ladrillo hablara;
Si cada puente hablara;
Si hablaran los parques, las plantas, las flores;
Si cada trozo de pavimento hablara,
Hablarían en español.

Si las torres, los techos,
Los aires acondicionados hablaran;
Si hablaran las iglesias, los aeropuertos, las fábricas,
Hablarían en español.

Si los sudores florecieran con un nombre,
No se llamarían piedras, sino Sánchez,
González, García, Rodríguez, José o Peña.

Pero no pueden hablar.
Son manos, obras, cicatrices,
que por ahora callan.
O quizás ya no.


[English translation by Yvette Neisser Moreno.]


An internationally known Hispanic-American poet born in Argentina, member of the North American and the Spanish Academies of the Language, Luis Alberto Ambroggio is the author of thirteen collections of poetry published in Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain, and the United States, amongst them, Difficult Beauty: Selected Poems 1987-2006 (2009), with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos, and The Wind’s Archeology (2011). Ambroggio has also co-edited the anthology Al pie de la Casa Blanca: Poetas hispanos de Washington, DC (At The Foot of the White House: Hispanic Poets in Washington, DC; 2010) and edited De Azul a Rojo: Voces de poetas nicaragüenses del siglo xxi (From Blue to Red: Voices of Nicaraguan Poets from the21st Century; 2011). His poetry is translated into several languages, and is included in the Archives of Hispanic Literature of the Library of Congress.


Published in Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 2012.


To read more by this author:
Luis Alberto Ambroggio
Luis Alberto Ambroggio: Wartime Issue
Luis Alberto Ambroggio: Langston Hughes Tribute Issue