Salamander 2024 Fiction Contest

SUBMIT: May 1 through June 2, 2024 | READING FEE: $15


Subterranean Flight

Mario Meléndez, tr. Eloisa Amezcua
| poetry


I'm the object I am
and at times I'm another and am far
sitting in water and sand
in an echo of burning tongues
And dream, yes, I dream
the colossal adventure of the human word
stabbed and drunk
bleeding in memory of the dead
who seem to come from within
who sob when they see me write their names
And now, when it comes out of my mouth
that tune of rain and wet sun
I lean all over and breathe scars
gather the breadcrumbs left by my soul
and I’m cold
and I wake between roses
not knowing who lives or loves still
This is why my navel has no age
and yet I wait for the day of lost kisses
even when my dreams are anonymous
and my bones no longer find
the murmurs of centuries
and again I divine ashes
and again I follow my shadow
and this tree that dies between my fingers
I’ll bury it with me
and we’ll fly in a spiral
like the teeth of some spring
and we’ll die together, without coffins
like a forgotten guitar’s strings
and we’ll die forever and that’ll be our reward
for our feet and our marrow
for our anthology of glass
and we’ll weep worms and cry rats
and we’ll weep timeless ants and cats in mourning
and we’ll weep smiles in the eyes of others
and black forests where a flower pulls out its hair
because this sky still doesn’t know me
still doesn’t hear the chord I carry in my mind
doesn’t know me
and I'm the object I am
and at times I'm another and am far
and I extend myself through walls
and streets and village stars
and leave the moon on the table
and get drunk to nobody’s health
I wake between crosses
to a vigil of spiders
with a kiss from the grave
and a hug and a heartbeat
dedicated to every corpse
and to every corpse a sigh
one piece of my ancient heart
that pours out like a river of groans

Eloisa Amezcua is an Arizona Native. Her poetry and translations are published or forthcoming from BOAAT, Tahoma Literary Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and others. Her chapbook On Not Screaming is forthcoming from Horse Less Press. You can find her at

Mario Meléndez (Linares, 1971) studied Journalism at La República University of Santiago, Chile. Figured among his books are: Autocultura y juicio, Apuntes para una leyenda, and Vuelo subterráneo. In 1993 he received the Municipal Prize of Literature in the Bicentennial of Linares. His poems have appeared in different magazines of Latino-American literature and in national and foreign anthologies.

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