The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Care Santos’ “Dissection”

Care Santos


Across a beach of nine thousand kilometers,
I search for something to give you.
It thrills me to choose something for you,
clean it of the sand that covers it,
keep it in the bottom of a pocket
and think that it won’t see the light of day
until it’s in your hands.
It will be a simple treasure, but unquestionable
as one of those things that are given
because there is no warehouse where they’re sold.
The things that are found, by chance,
after chance has done with them
what life does with us.

I continue searching among the white sand:
I’m surprised by the changes in this sea
which is the same as ever and nonetheless is other.
I’m tricked by the blues and the breeze
because I know they don’t exist except in my restlessness,
that I’ll close my eyes and on opening them
I’ll be at my desk, already home
or without having left
and I won’t remember when it happened
or if it happened, which comes to be the same thing.

That’s why now I search among the lichens,
among the black algae of chance
piled on the white sand
in search of treasures to give to you.
An idea encourages me: that they last,
that they live beside you and survive me,
that they shout my name whenever I’m far away,
that they whisper my name while you’re with another woman.

I shift the vegetable mane.
I’m infuriated by the trash, the rubbish
that we humans always generate:
cigarette butts, flasks, glass, and even one of those
ink cartridges with its brand still visible.
And bottles, diapers, wrappers,
glasses, bags, and bits of bread. An endless
accumulated waste.
Between so much garbage and the spongey black
I look for exclusive treasures for you.
It’s not necessary to say that they’re not plentiful here
and that to find them requires faith and enthusiasm.
That’s how it is and how it’ll continue to be:
for amid all those lichens that the water
drags to the shore of your life,
from among all those remains of shipwreck
your own and others,
from among all the most unclean wastes
I search for a treasure for you.
I’ll look for the occasion on which to give it to you
with my eyes closed and talking in whispers.
I’ll place on the palm of your hand
a shell, a stone, a smoothed crystal,
another piece in your collection of chances.
I’ll ponder its forms, its color, its texture,
and you will leave it upon your hand
and you’ll tell me that it will always go with you
(although you and I both know that this is not true
for everything we are can be substituted;
that while I’m saying these words
you’re betraying me in body and soul;
at the same time as I cover this final section
of the happy and satisfied woman
who searches for treasures on the shore
of her life and yours.
Starting tomorrow it will be another woman
who knows the pain and betrayal,
and who wishes to know death).
But the treasure shines like a beacon in my hand:
I know it belongs to you even though you don’t deserve it.

Of the rest, the hotel bill already paid,
it would be better if chance took charge of it.
The same chance that sets the stones to rolling
and rescues the corals from the water.

This selection comes from Care Santos’ book Dissection available now from A Midsummer Night’s Press. Purchase your copy here!

Care Santos (Mataró, 1970) is one of Spain’s most versatile and prolific writers. Writing in both Catalan and Spanish, she is the author of over 40 books in different genres, including novels, short story collections, young adult and children’s books, poetry, etc. She has won numerous prizes and awards, including the Ateneo Joven from Seville, the Alfonso de Cossío Short Story Prize, and in young adult literature both the Gran Angular Prize and the Barco de Vapor Prize, among many others. Dissection won the Carmen Conde Award for a book of poetry by a woman writer in 2007. Her novel Habitaciones cerradas was adapted into a television series. Her novel Desig de xocolata (written in Catalan) won the 34th Ramon Llull Prize and was translated into English by Julie Wark and published by Alma Books as Desire for Chocolate. Her work has also been translated into Basque, Galician, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish, as well as English. She lives with her family in Mataró, Barcelona.

Lawrence Schimel (New York, 1971) writes in both Spanish and English and has published over 100 books as author or anthologist, including the Spanish-language poetry collection Desayuno en la cama and the English-language chapbooks Fairy Tales for Writers and Deleted Names. He has won the Lambda Literary Award (twice), the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Spectrum Award, and other honors. He lives in Madrid, Spain, where he works as a Spanish->English translator.

librecht baker. Dembrebrah West African Drum and Dance Ensemble member. Kouman Kele Dance and Drum Ensemble memeber. MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. VONA/Voices & Lambda Literary Fellow. Sundress Publications’ Assistant Editor. Poetry in Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices & CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape. Currently, birthing & manifesting.


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