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Winning Piece: 1st Prize of Poetry in Indigenous Language "Gusanos de la Memoria"

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Translated by Paul M. Worley and Melissa D. Birkhofer

Photos: Mario Bazendu’

When I was twelve I auditioned for the lead role in director Xavi Sala’s El ombligo de Guié’dani. For my work in this last film, I’ve been awarded an Honorable Mention in Best Actress category at Morelia’s International Film Festival and was recently nominated for Best Actress in the Diosas de Plata 2020, which is given by the Periodistas Cinematográficos de México (PECIME).

Winner in the Poetry Category (English/Diidxazá /Spanish)

English translation

I Buried Him

I buried him

a long time ago

under all of the places

we went together.

I buried him

under a tree

that shaded his house.

I buried him

under the market.

I buried him

at Vicente Beach.

I buried him

under a hill.

I buried him.

And I pulled him out

of my guts.

I buried him

in a grave.

He died

in my heart.

His memory

will fade

in time.

It doesn’t hurt anymore!

He died

so long ago.

I don’t feel

bad about it.

The wind

dragged him away.

The sea’s waves

dragged him away.

That was the end of him.

And me,

I don’t cry

like I did last year.

Original version in Diidxazá

Bicache’ laa’be

Bicache’ laa’be,

ma’ xhadxí’.

Bicache’ laa’be

xhana ca’ guirá’

layú’ rá uyudu’.

Bicache’ laa’be

xhana ti yaga rúdi’

bacaanda neza

rá’ lidxibe’.

Bicache’ laa’be

xhaguete’ luguiaa.

Bicache’ laa’be

rá’ nisado’ Xavicende.

Bicache’ laa’be,

xhaguete’ ti dani.

Bicache’ laa’be,

ne’ guxha laa’be

ndani ladxidúa’.

Bicache’ laa’be,

ndani ti guibá’.

Guti’bee ndani


Zee’be ne ca’ dxi’


Ma’ qui’ riuuba!


ma’ xhadxí’

ma’ qui nuaa xilase.

Bi ma’ yee’né laa’be,

ne sacá’ca nisado’.

Rácaa biluxhe’bee.

Ne na’,

ma’ qui’ ruuna’dia’

sica biina dxique’.

Spanish translation

Lo enterré

Lo enterré,

hace mucho tiempo.

Lo enterré,

debajo de todos los

lugares que visitamos juntos.

Lo enterré,

debajo de un árbol que

daba sombra por su casa.

Lo enterré,

debajo del mercado.

Lo enterré,

en playa Vicente.

Lo enterré,

debajo de un cerro.

Lo enterré.

Y lo arranqué de mis


Lo enterré,

en una tumba.

Murió dentro

de mi corazón.

Su recuerdo

se desvaneció

con el tiempo.

¡Ya no duele!

Se murió,

hace mucho tiempo.

Ya no siento


El viento

lo arrastró.

Las olas del mar

lo arrastraron.

Ese fue su final.

Y yo,

ya no lloro como

antaño tiempo.

The jury was comprised of the Chiapanecan writer Balam Rodrigo and the Mazahua writer Susana Bautista Cruz.

About this piece:

Written in Diidxazá/Zapotec and Spanish, the poem “Bichache’” or “I buried him” recreates a luminous absence, maybe that of love, and leaves clues as to what is no longer there. The poem moves through a symbolic geography: the tree, the hill, Vicente Beach, and finally the voice’s own territory, the body. This poem enunciates, says without saying, creates, and recreates powerful images that sustain the poem’s structure, and give it rhythm.

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