Everything begins with the moon and a desolate sky,
a place of frail words to open
the native prose of dreams. Calm
country poplars, Indian laurels
rise up, anxious on this island of memory.
There go the men who sail into port
when the word burns like a suburb
of truth, a mark on the page
that formed the earth. They approach too quickly.
They have lost the light and now break open a sea curd
in which time crackles.
They want to erase their names, to plant scams
in slow spirals of foam.
They recite a verse in an exiled country
like a clear net around infinite oceans.
There is blood between the rocks.
You listen to them. You wait for their silence.
You know they constitute an era.
Who will defend them from themselves?
Who will endure their eternal burden,
their first night of wind?
They'll remain in books forever.
Syllables of gratitude, sentences where the remnants
of their century glimmer.
They are a sliver of light within the atlas of time.
You pray for them.
You open a coconut and you drink from it.
Bells ring where birds chirp,
where fish throb with the calmness
of a heart that's on its own.
Once again the dream flows beneath your palm-thatched hut.
Who delights in you? Who says such prayers for you?
You imagine a period as your cry's spell.
You say that spring waits
in each of your own flood's hollows.
And in your smile. You know it's all a mistake.
A small part where you dissolve
into nature. You resist fear
with a tender secret.
There is a child in your bed. Keep quiet.
You believe there are hummocks of ice outside.
You dream of the Hilton's air conditioning,
of the brief appearance of a luxurious dish
that someone brings to your room while you
listen to the sea in the drain.
You need nobody.
You prefer to stroll along your boulevard
of skyscrapers and palm trees.
A broken transmitter's sound
hangs in the air.
It's a crab.
On this side of the coast you hope to see women
moving toward you
in a moment of calm or of ebb and flow.
You listen to the commotion of invisible docks.
The flesh of sailors that peels off like bark.
Someone wipes a trace of sweat from your cheek.
A halo of voices floods the secret creatures.
You're tired of their sounds.
They are your heart's deceptions,
your hands' lines
begging for a morsel of truth and nothing more.
You resist the desire to be one with time.
You know that at least some justice must rain
down upon your neighborhood of sand.
Wholeness is a bellflower open
to the insect's offices,
the trough of truth and mercy
where nobody can refuse
a spent life's waste.
Pity, you say, pity for such recklessness.
And you're overjoyed.
Copyright © 2006 by María Baranda
Translation copyright © 2010 by Joshua Edwards
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission