Chamomile Tea

Miyó Vestrini
Translated from the Spanish by Anne Boyer & Cassandra Gillig

My friend,El Chino,once wrote about how women sitand walkafter they’ve made love.We never got to argue about itbecause he died like an idiotof a heart attack treated with chamomile tea.Had we had the chance,I'd have told him that the only thing good about making loveis men who ejaculatewithout bitterness,without dread.And that after doing it,no one wants to sit downor walk.I named an old palm treeplanted near the pool at my apartment after him.Every time I take a drinkand I greet him,he shakes his leaves,a sign that he’s furious.He told me once:life’s a massive happinessor a massive outrage.I’m true to my childhood dreams.I believe in what I do,what my friends do,and what everyone like me does.Sometimes we stay up togethervery latetalking about the worms that hound himand the wicked heat he feels all dayin that aridity and sand.He hasn’t changed:hungry,dispossessed,he can sit down and befriend Mallarmé.Lautréamont joined us one nightand said El Chino was right:poetry should be made by all.And then the others came:Rubén Darío leading Nicaragua,Omar Khayyam with his parties,Paul Éluard uniting lovers.Together,we dipped El Chino in the pool, under a full moon,and he was contentlike when he had a river,some birds,a kite.Now he’s worked up again,because they bring him flowerswhile he’s trying to scare off cockroaches.He wanted to be interred in Helsinki,under eternal snow.He went around the world,passing through London where a woman waited for him,and on his way back,he drank chamomile tea.He,who loved the shadows so much,could no longer stay up all night.Lucid and very hypocritical,he had a horrible fear of dying in bed.I knowbecause he wrote me a notethat the line he liked most was David Cooper's:a bed is the laboratory of love and dreams.

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Miyó Vestrini (1938–1991) was born in France and immigrated to Venezuela at the age of nine. She was a prizewinning journalist and the author of three collections of poetry. Grenade in the Mouth: Some Poems of Miyó Vestrini was recently published by Kenning Editions.

Anne Boyer is a U.S. poet and essayist whose books include A Handbook of Disappointed Fate (2018) and the CLMP award-winning Garments Against Women (2015). In 2018, Boyer received the inaugural Cy Twombly Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and a Whiting Award in poetry and nonfiction. She is the 2018-19 Judith E. Wilson Fellow in poetry at Cambridge University and an associate professor of the liberal arts at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Cassandra Gillig is an archivist and liturgical poet working under the New Order of St. Agatha. She is at work on a book of correspondence between Diane di Prima and Audre Lorde and a middle grade book about animal liberation and the end of Amazon. She lives in Kansas City.

No. 28

Brooklyn, New York

Brigid Hughes

Managing Editor
Megan Cummins

Poetry Editor
Brett Fletcher Lauer

A Public Space is an independent magazine of art and argument, fact and fiction. Founded in 2005, the magazine is a forum for new ideas and new conversations, and each issue brings together a wide range of global voices to tell the stories of the twenty-first century.

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