Two Poems

Gemma Gorga
Translated from the Catalan by Sharon Dolin


I pry out the seeds with my fingers and allmy memories spill onto the frosty marblecounter. Little, lit up like ruby-red carnival lights,rough as the cat tongue of Timeinviting us to sit at the table to gobble us upin a mouthful. The pomegranate returnslate autumn, ready to ruin us, on whichever nightwe are in the kitchen, distracted by dinner: very lightlyit stains our fingers that pensive, murky color,the color hours take on that won’tclot—the open color of memory. 

The Sky Over Berlin

Don’t ask me how or why. Now and thenpigeons go astray, they go througha window, a curtain, a mirror left halfopen, and nothing can prevent their scatteringthrough the transparent sky of the soul, the waywatercolors disperse under the serendipity of waterdrops. Don’t ask me how or whythese mistakes happen, or if they even aremistakes. How could I know whose handopens mirrors, whose hand precipitateswater? Sometimes, life chooses the wrongpiece, white moves for black, and thenan eagle appears under a coat, a wordon a bee’s lips, a sad angelsitting in a laundromat. They sayit happens to everyone, not onlythose with wings. Comforting to know.Comforting to know error is a partof us, sustains us like air or blood,that the best encounters are reallylosses or confusions, accidents happeningthree thousand feet above sea level over forgottencities, there where words ascendlike effervescent globules, and disappear.

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Gemma Gorga was born in Barcelona in 1968. She has published six collections of poetry in Catalan. Her most recent collection Mur (Barcelona: Meteora, 2015) won the Premi de la Critica de Poesia Catalana. Her new book of poems, Viatge al centre, is forthcoming in 2020. She is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Spanish Literature at the University of Barcelona.

Sharon Dolin is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Manual for Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). Her translation of Gemma Gorga’s Book of Minutes (Field Translation Series/Oberlin College Press, 2019) received grants from PEN and Institut Ramon Llull. Her memoir Hitchcock Blonde is forthcoming from Terra Nova Press in 2020. She is Associate Editor of Barrow Street Press and directs Writing About Art in Barcelona.

September 2019

Brooklyn, New York

Managing Editor
Charles Schultz

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