Poem – Translation


To fail is to admit I can do nothing more. Perhaps it’s good. If I can fall, arms open, into the rhythm of it–letting the air pour through me, hands open–not the reason, closing hands–then failing is a passageway to the next right word.

I heard the words in the wind from the south and east and I ate them. That was how I translated the words delivered to me in a different language by your urgent tongue–we spoke and argued and you knelt and fingered the old Spanish dictionary from the 17th century. Curled in the library nook that saw the purple mountains and kept them at the bottom of every page every day, until their shape couldn’t be seen anymore, the poems moving out, away from us.

The poem was a space for discovery and the translation–a world away–demanded accuracy and loyalty to the word, invented by holding a stranger’s cup and drinking. An urgency that I had to touch–spit and thorny brush: I crossed worn sandstone on a trail at dusk.

© Copyright 2024 Beatrix Gates