death suffering from
so many defects/see
the glory of this day/the birds
singing standoffish/the
dogs’ decision they live
their unforgiving outwardness/
no astral opposed in the evening
with whereabouts unknown/
the bridge from one to what was
walked by disjointed numbers/
the being who strives to be with lamps
to tell it where to find the irises/
those who perfumed the passing
in black holes/

To Rodolfo Alonso

– Juan Gelman

(Tr. by K. M. Hedeen & V. Rodríguez Núñez)


If the rhythm of a poem
brings wine and sways
the shadows and mama,
pick out the lice I brought home from school,
don’t take your belt off against me:
what’s blowing in a corner
is my love for you, it’s a
boy on the street
not understanding. What are you doing
there wrapped up in hates
I could never settle?
What were you punishing when
you punished me?
I’m not asking you, I’m asking me.
I know it’s too late for everything now save
this knowing of you unknown.
I’d like you at my side
in the silence you granted me
and it quiets like an ox.

– Juan Gelman

(Tr. by K. M. Hedeen & V. Rodríguez Núñez)

The Aspiration

The nonsense of sadness and
its animals
rummaging everywhere
are truer than I.
These words
are truer than I.
They are matter and not time,
in their insides there’s
a never-ending stone.
The children of men think
that wetting them with wine
will do away with their conscience, fire.
There are words waiting and no one takes them.
On their own there in flowering silence.

– Juan Gelman

(Tr. by K. M. Hedeen & V. Rodríguez Núñez)

Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour

Light the first light of evening, as in a room

In which we rest and, for small reason, think

The world imagined is the ultimate good.

This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.

It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,

Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:

Within a single thing, a single shawl

Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,

A light, a power, the miraculous influence.

Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.

We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,

A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.

Within its vital boundary, in the mind.

We say God and the imagination are one…

How high that highest candle lights the dark.

Out of this same light, out of the central mind,

We make a dwelling in the evening air,

In which being there together is enough.

– Wallace Stevens


In the almond – what stands in the almond?
The Nothing.
In the almond stands Nothing.
There it stands and stands.

In the Nothing – who stands there? The King.
There stands the King, the King.
There he stands and stands.

Jewish curls, no grey for you.

And your eye – whereto stands your eye?
Your eye stands opposite the almond.
Your eye, the Nothing it stands opposite.
It stands by the King.
So it stands and stands.

Human curls, no grey for you.
Empty almond, kingly blue.

– Paul Celan

The Husband Sings to his Love

She appeared on my chest
tattooed like age
and pain.

Like a soft flock of hills
whose course returns with dawn,

My beloved speaks
with a love that barely holds
the heart of the day and a barefoot voice.

Under my shadow
her hips were hemmed by flesh.

For me she drives the cattle of dawn
with her breasts,

And the afternoon breaks loose to her passing
like wounded reeds
and half-opened laurel.

Eyelids traveled
by snow and midday,

A well where my unbridled
mouth slides
like a torrent of doves
and dampened salt.

—Clusters of anger and a vocation of kisses
were placed upon your thighs.

I will make bouquets of water
fall beneath your thighs,
and faltered spumes
and secret flocks.


The trees
all possess your candid stature,
your fallen eyelids,
and your dampened gesture,

Building of larks
inhabited by climates
where the sun rules
over golden vineyards.
Wild birds
will find me at your shadow.

Your voice of fallen air
among four white lillies
will march through my ear
as the afternoon approaches.

I will savor you with joy.
You will dream of me

– Eunice Odio