Translation (for Montserrat Roig)
by Kerfe Roig

Translations are necessary.
The blood begins in Catalan.
Roig becomes rojo becomes red.
You knew these three songs of the tongue.
You knew about women. You knew
translations are necessary
between silenced lives of women
and loud words from the lives of men.
You knew relationships always
contain questions. Never simple:
translations are necessary.
The same meaning? Not exactly.
What language do I really speak?
Is it contained in the center
of the journey from roig to red?
Translations are necessary.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE IMAGE: Me (left), Montserrat Roig (right), and the transition from roig to red, Catalonia to America.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Montserrat Roig (1946-1991) was a fiction writer, essayist, TV journalist, and political activist committed to Catalan culture and feminism. She was especially interested in the generational relationships between women and the marginal nature of women’s writing. I did not become aware of the origin of my surname until adulthood. First I learned it was Spanish; later, I discovered the name was actually Catalan, filtered through Spain. Montserrat Roig lived the layers and tensions of Catalan/Spanish identity. Her novels about the lives of women intrigue me, but though she both spoke and taught in English, her work is available in the United States only in Spanish. I own a copy of L’hora Violeta. Sadly, despite my ancestry, I speak and experience life only in American English. “Translations are necessary.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kerfe Roig enjoys transforming words and images into something new. You can follow her explorations on the blog she does with her friend Nina: