Leslie Contreras Schwartz is a poet and essayist living in Houston, Texas. She is the author of the collection of poems, Fuego

A   L I T A N Y   A N D   S O N G

B Y   L E S L I E   C O N T R E R A S   S C H W A R T Z      

​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

J A N U A R Y , 2 0 1 7

The birds sound
Like muffled cries

How many times 
Can things be taken?

In the same breath 
With viva la vida, viva 
El cuerpo.

This body of song
Of cry and let-down joy,

To be able to cry,
Sent down song 
Upon feathers 
And throats.

Viva la vida.
It’s crown heavy
Upon our small heads.

L'chaim la vida
Ya hayati habibi

These small freedoms:
Zum leben das zeitliche

Das zeitliche segnen.

To depart gracefully
From the branch,
This full-throttle song
In our throats

Gaosu women
Cho chúng tôi biết

Ay adonia ay la virgen ay Allah

Hold this song in 
The genizah of your godheart
The one made of people.

Wakinyan tanka, make us
Lightening, thunder, water
To sustain us
Until we are spent.