from claus and the scorpion

By Lara Dopazo Ruibal

Translated by Laura Cesarco Eglin







(Forthcoming Summer 2022 from co•im•press)





the scorpion draws a shadow of discord
over lara and among the laras that inhabit lara

where are you going with that name, hisses the scorpion
moving slowly across my chest

the smoke of discord goes down
lower and lower

the ants devour each other

i stop breathing and tear
very slowly
the seams that hold the top of my chest together











claus is at the bottom of the paper 

a name articulated in dry leaves

in twigs. in


claus is a frail nest

of excessive weight.

i take the leaves, twigs, and straw

to the bottom of the paper. i carry corpses

as do the ants that live

inside my skull

they make a nest. i

call for claus, stuttering, incoherent

making no sense outside the margins of this structure

i spend days on end there and

nobody knows where i am. what i do


i pick up a needle from the bottom of a puddle and with it

i tattoo the letters of his name. the mud

gets inside my skin. it causes infections.

like rivers, the insects come to my wounds

black streams crawling inside me

under my skin


i’m so busy building myself i forget

i have a body. i dismiss

this intense pain in my temples

no appetite

the fast rhythm of my heart. exhaustion


no verse has moved me for a long time

no voice.

sometimes i’m flustered by the scent of that perfume

that body. but it’s not it, nothing is

as it was before winter


the straw structure anchors at the bottom of the paper

but no one cares about the paper.

i put the nest in a huge box and post it

i send it to myself


i’m free for a few days


under my skull the ants party

because claus













o alacrán deseña unha sombra de discordia
sobre lara e entre as laras que habitan a lara

onde vas con ese nome, sisea o alacrán
desprazándose amodo polo peito

o fume da discordia vai baixando
cada vez máis baixo

as formigas devóranse unhas ás outras

eu deixo de respirar e rompo
moi amodo
as costuras que fechan a tapa do peito












no fondo do papel está claus

un nome que se artella en follas secas

en pólas pequenas. en


claus é un niño feble

cun peso desmesurado.

levo cara o fondo do papel as follas, as pólas

a palla. carrexo cadáveres, tal

como fan as formigas que me viven

dentro do cranio


elas fan niño. eu

chamo por claus tatexa, incoherente

carente de sentido fóra das marxes da súa estrutura


paso días alí metida.

ninguén sabe onde estou. que fago


recollo unha agulla do fondo dun charco e con ela

tatúo as letras do seu nome. a lama

métese dentro da pel. prodúceme infeccións.

ás feridas veñen os insectos como ríos

regatos negros a se meter dentro de min

por baixo da pel


estou tan ocupada en construírme que esquezo

que teño un corpo. obvio

esta dor intensa nas sens

a falta de fame

a velocidade do corazón. a canseira


hai xa tempo que ningún verso me emociona

ningunha voz.

ás veces altérame o recendo daquel perfume

daquel corpo. pero non é, nada é

como antes do inverno


a estrutura de palla fondea no final do papel

mais a ninguén lle interesa o papel.

meto o niño nunha caixa inmensa e bótoa ao correo

remitida a min propia


durante uns días son libre


debaixo do cranio as formigas fan unha festa

porque claus









Lara Dopazo Ruibal was born in Marín (Galicia, Spain). She has a BA in journalism and two MA degrees: one in international cooperation and one in theoretical and practical philosophy. Dopazo Ruibal has pub­lished four poetry collections and she is the coeditor and coauthor of the experimental essay volume A través das marxes: Entrelazando feminismos, ruralidades e comúns. Her poetry collection ovella was awarded the Fran­cisco Añón Prize in 2015, and with claus e o alacrán she received the Fiz Vergara Vilariño Prize in 2017. Dopazo Ruibal was a resident artist at the Spanish Royal Academy in Rome for the academic year 2018–2019. She won the Illa Nova Narrative Award with her short stories collection O axolote e outros contos de bestas e auga (Editorial Galaxia, 2020). Photo Credit: Jesús Castro Yanhez.


Laura Cesarco Eglin is the translator of Of Death. Minimal Odes by Hilda Hilst, (co•im•press, 2018), which won the 2019 Best Translated Book Award in Poetry. She is the co-translator from the Portuñol of Fabián Severo’s Night in the North (Eulalia Books, 2020). claus and the scorpion, Cesarco Eglin’s translation from Galician of Lara Dopazo Ruibal’s poetry collection, is forthcoming from co•im•press in 2022. Her transla­tions from Spanish, Portuguese, Portuñol, and Galician have appeared in a variety of journals, including Asymptote, Timber, Exchanges, Modern Poetry in Translation, Eleven Eleven, the Massachusetts Review, Cordella Magazine, Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, Waxwing Journal, and The Puritan. Cesarco Eglin is the author of six poetry col­lections, including Time/Tempo: The Idea of Breath (PRESS 254, 2022) and Life, One Not Attached to Conditionals (Thirty West Publishing House, 2020). She is the co-founding editor and publisher of Veliz Books and teaches creative writing at the University of Houston-Downtown. Find out more at


Poesía en acción is an Action Books blog feature for Latin American and Spanish poetry in translation and the translator micro-interview series. It was created by Katherine M. Hedeen and is currently curated and edited by Olivia Lott with web editing by Paul Cunningham.