Lice

If the rhythm of a poem
brings wine and sways
the shadows and mama,
pick out the lice I brought home from school,
papa,
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)

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