Letter to Amnesia # 2,046
By the road come women
of the white shadows
singing the river's song.
And by the riverbank
a woman washes her clothes
washes her naked body
Restand oré crisentsé
Curst Kam Sintanjbé
(and when I get close to you
you turn into a river)
comes the current and steals
her naked shadow
And you cut with your ax
all the way up to that other village
perpendicular to yours,
and like yours, by the riverbank,
It had winding streets,
scattered by the forest and the river's edge,
because the jungle grew
from every side. They were wide
streets, in the beginning,
but rains and droughts ruined them.
No one knew, not even in the brightness of day,
if there had lain a wide plain
where now I cut
who goes away singing
with the women
with white shadows
…incense, dense and warm incense,
the night that envelopes her figure
bending down before the current,
among the song of bronze-colored birds,
she heard, for the first time,
his clear, deep voice.
She lived upstream,
the curves of her body
for the river's waters.
She didn't give herself to any one,
she was devoted to her father.
A small dog at her side
sniffed her feet and her shadow,
and she roved among
quietude and her own desires.
beneath thick, shiny leaves of trees,
there, where there were great vegetal spills, lianas,
tangled branches that scratch the waters.
Animals, among shreds of shadows,
live there an indolent, dark, and cruel life.
Everything is far from the mountains
that press down upon the plains
with the weight of centuries of stones.
I'll marry you, he said to her.
Father, he will take me
where, he says, a cold light
overflows the world.
His paddles and anchor
touch deep down
where blue turns
And I sail
in search of her. For two years I travel. At last
I find her and while the bird of prey leaves to hunt
I enter her cabin. She had two scrawny children,
nearly dying. And as we see things altered
by the light of a candle,
the candle's neck dangling, almost broken
in the foul air, there she was. Her body,
cadaverous, her skin green as though
she had slept for many years in the swampy
depth of the river.
She is dead, I thought. Her fingers were shorn off.
He was returning. The hunt had bloodied
his chest. We have to sail off.
Flames flare up, as you know,
and lift off darkly to the heavens,
and bares the legs of my child.
You did it father. You cut me up.
No, my daughter, it wasn't me,
He cut up your fingers into pieces.
And, in a fury, I bore down with my ax, so heavy,
As I die, he said, I will be blue-colored
I long to fly and I am red
And as I shut my eyes
I go on darkening into green,
and now almost an old man I cut
up to that question that enquires:
And, is it possible that after so many centuries,
that red avenging blood
has turned into a green jungle?
back to issue one
[ see also ]
Poetic Beings by Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz
Seven Poems of César Marañón translated by Nicomedes Suárez-Araúz
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