Geboren in Córdoba, Argentinien, lebte lange Zeit in Spanien und lebt nun in Deutschland. Er ist Schriftsteller, Autor von Romanen und Kurzgeschichten, Regisseur und Professor für Film. Seine Geschichten erscheinen regelmäßig in renommierten Zeitschriften, Anthologien und Literaturmagazinen in Spanien, Argentinien, Mexiko, Chile, Peru, Kanada, USA, Italien, Frankreich und Deutschland. Er studierte Bildende Kunst an der Kunsthochschule Emilio Caraffa in Cosquín, Córdoba, Argentinien.

Natural de Córdoba, Argentina, ha vivido en España y actualmente reside en Alemania. Es autor de relatos, novelista, director y profesor de cine. Sus cuentos aparecen habitualmente en prestigiosos periódicos, antologías y revistas literarias de España, Argentina, México, Chile, Perú, Canadá, Estados Unidos, Italia, Francia y Alemania. Ha cursado Bellas Artes en la Escuela de Artes Emilio Caraffa de Cosquín, Córdoba, Argentina.

Norberto Luis Romero is an Argentine, now a citizen of Spain presently living in Germany. He writes a wide range of fiction -from realistic to extreme fantasy. His stories have been published in Spain, Argentine, France, Italy, Canada and the United States. This is his first book-length collection to appear in English. He writes a wide range of fiction- from realistic to extreme fantasy.

Originario di Cordoba (Argentina), risiede in Spagna dal 1975. La sua opera letteraria, che comprende racconti e romanzi, ha ricevuto riconoscimenti per lo stile diretto e agile e per le sue sorprendenti tematiche, mai convenzionali e sempre molto coraggiose.

19.2.13

AGNIESZKA, THE ORPHAN



Agnieszka bends over as if looking at the ground, but she doesn’t look at it because she looks at nothing; she bends over from an inexplicable force, a weight that obliges her to double in two, and since she loses her balance easily because she has small, flat feet, she falls flat on her face. Agnieszka’s head is covered with bruises and lumps. Hurting, half dizzy, she heads uphill to the wasp house. Why does Agnieszka so often go to the wasp house if she knows they can sting her? In fact, they have stung her many times, and she really hurt and for several days went about with her face and hands inflamed, red. But Agnlieszka forgets everything a few hours after it has happened. She knows only her name and her parents’ names. She doesn’t even know how old she is, and one day cites a number and the next another, because she has many numbers. She was not this way as a child. She had come with her parents from Poland, she was pretty and knew how to read and write, she had books, she was normal until what happened to her father when he destroyed several of the neighbors’ hives with an axe. Since then, Agnieszka has fallen and hurt herself and lost her mind.

That’s Agnieszka and no one questions her, nor pays attention to her, nor worries about what can happen to her when she falls on her face or each time she heads to the wasp house with the bag under her arm. The kids follow her almost dying from laughter and making fun of her, singing made-up, always obscene rimes, but she doesn’t hear them or pretends not to. She goes up the hill to that old house that is falling apart and whose rotting eaves nest the camoatí wasps from the entire area like a meeting place or a pilgrimage; and when she gets there, she goes to the chestnut tree where she keeps her long pole. With it, menacing, she goes onto the porch and climbs the railing, from which she pokes the wasp nests high up, and insults them in Polish, calling them assassinating daughters of the Devil. Despite everything, despite her few brains, Agnieszka possesses a special ability and in a few minutes she has knocked down several hives loaded with honey and covered with indignant wasps. With the same pole she destroys all but two. She is wearing a dirty blue bandana, but her hands are bare. Agnieszka brushes one hand with the other and frees herself from the wasps although some have already stung her and in no time her hands will resemble a pair of inflated rubber gloves. But she’s happy, she places the two honeycombs she’s saved, places her pole against the tree and takes the same path by which she came until, leaving the village, she turns right and crosses the hill, headed to the old abandoned cemetery. They say hardly any markers are standing; instead there are holes made by dogs, vagrants, weasels, or some other varmint.

The children who follow her and spy on her say she sits among the remains of moss-covered stones and talks to herself, say she says the same words they don’t understand because Agnieszka speaks in Polish: edema de glottis. Others say she cries as she tries to free her hands of the stings. Some say she digs up the dead and searches for her mother’s and father’s bones.

Nobody knows the truth. Nobody has ever entered the box of tin and carton where Agnieszka lives, her shack surrounded by the remains of hives smashed and scattered over the hill. If they did enter, they would find two assembled skeletons laid out on the dirt floor: one lacks a humerus, the ilia, and a tibia; the other an entire hand, scapulas, and several ribs, and both the heads. In their place are two beautiful camoatí honeycombs always filled with dark, bitter honey.


Translated by H.E. Francis from the Spanish