Essays / Ensayos

Dear Sylvia,

Yesterday, while browsing in a bookstore in Bern, I stumbled upon the letter you wrote to your psychiatrist on February 4, 1963. I heard the voice of a clinically depressed, sensitive artist, and mother, making a colossal effort to keep her head above water. “I write from London where I have found a flat &…

Spanish books or Books in Spanish?

The shelf labelled “Libros Españoles” holding books in Spanish irritates me. I now challenge the salesperson every time I see it. “Excuse me, would you place Friederich Dürrenmatt, Max Frisch, and other Swiss authors under “German Books”? I asked the salesman at Stauffacher in Bern yesterday. He looked puzzled, so I tried to explain, “You…

Losing the EU one “e” at a Time:

“Madame, you will not be able to board the flight, your COVID test is in German,” the Swiss airline employee told my daughter at the gate in Zurich airport, as she prepared to fly home to London. “Excuse me? It says “Negativ,” just add the “e” and you’ll turn it into English.” “No, Madame, we’re…

Name it

Six men and one woman sit around a large mahogany table at the Colombian Embassy in Brussels. At the head of the table, the Ambassador, a man in his early thirties, smoking and smiling with the other men. The woman looks down at her large belly, she will soon deliver a child. The men’s laughter…

The clay pot

Letter to my father, Rodrigo Escobar Navia Today, the 6th of November in 2020, you would have turned 86. It is not by chance that I find myself here, in this library, reading Borges. How you loved Borges! So much so that I  scattered your ashes on the grave of the celebrated argentine, in Geneva’s…

Una vasija de barro

Hoy, 6 de noviembre de 2020, cumplirías 86 años. No es fortuito que me encuentre aquí en esta biblioteca leyendo a Borges. Cómo te gustaba Borges! Tanto que esparcí tus cenizas sobre la tumba del célebre argentino en el cimetière des rois en Ginebra.

Les mains baladeuses de mon médecin

Une femme sage ne veut être l’ennemie de personne ; une femme sage refuse d’être la victime de quiconque. -Maya Angelou Je remercie Julie Moulin, auteure (Jupe et Pantalon, Alma Editeur, 2016 et Domovoï, Alma Editeur, 2019) pour sa précieuse aide avec la révision de la traduction de ce texte, originalement écrit en anglais. Un témoignage C’est…

My MD’s wandering hands

In slow motion, he placed his hands on my breasts, cupping a breast in each hand. His gesture lasted only a few seconds. I froze. Or rather, I became a fly settling on my left shoulder, petrified, void, and breathless.