My first exile was leaving the countryside for the city, to enter San Gabriel, an Anglican school where they’d put Gringo soap in the mouths of children who didn’t speak English. And I didn’t know a word of English! I began to learn through osmosis and sound, reciting “twinkle twinkle little star.” I had never heard such a perfect word. “Twinkle” sounded exactly like a star performing— the shining of a sound.
— Cecilia Vicuña, from “The First Exile: Santiago, 1957,” Spit Temple tr. Rosa Alcalá