by Víctor Terán
Nostalgia has me boxed
in the stupid wall of this afternoon.
Someone somewhere bastes in happiness
beneath the fresh shade of love.
The earth is like a great comal*
above God's hot coals.
Gnomes hop across red-hot paths
while a dog
compulsively licks her vulva, then wanders southward.
Console my soul, clumsy air,
spill into my eyes the deepest dream,
a dense dream and distant like death.
I recall the fingers of your hand,
your bony fingers.
My eyes choke for the moons of your lips.
Your memory has me nailed to the lukewarm afternoon
and I resemble the shadow of a body buried yesterday,
a shadow that looks to the north, to the south,
that seeks, without finding, the path.
Maybe because of this, God doesn't die.
that if someone can walk over coals
they can also do it over the wind?
Laugh at me please, you told me
while the fierce metal of the phrase
I wish you all the best sunk into the pit of my love,
while you told me we won't see each other anymore.
or beat it to look for your skeleton!
The meat of my memories
hangs in strips at the grocer's
because of the blind wind of your lips.
The literal translation of this poem was made by David Shook
The final translated version of the poem is by David Shook
* A comal is a type of skillet for cooking tortillas and other indigenous staples. Originating in pre-Colombian times, it comes from the Nahuatl word comalli, and is made of cast iron or, more commonly in indigenous communities, flattened scrap metal.
First published in World Literature Today
© Poetry Translation Centre 2004-2013