LATE AUTUMN: TWO POEMS
|Klaus Pfeiffer, by permission|
I dig out my painted La Catrina tile, build a little shrine with my love, light candles early. Time itself feels fragile -- a moment ago, wasn't it yesterday, wasn't I just stepping across the threshold of school on my first day? Wasn't I sitting beside my father, saying goodbye, saying hello?
Almost by accident I found three poems by Mexican poet Carmen Boullosa, whose work is new to me, in the journal Latin American Literature Today. I fell in love with those poems. Here is one.
(the fish, the ant)
and I toward the tomb,
my final crinoline.
I run, from the basting and the grammar of my dresses
toward the laughter drawn on the dead man's skull.
"Goodbye," her final words. "Death to the power of the crinoline!"
I travel aboard my tomb,
in a crinoline my entire life.
said the fish,
"I'm out of here in a crinoline."
It journeyed and journeyed,
the sea was its crinoline.
and I to my tomb
to take off my crinoline.
From the governance of the crinoline,
they take from me an oar
and a chocolate.
-- Carmen Boullosa, translated by Lawrence Schimel
Against a grayish sky
a grayer cloud
rimmed black by the sun.
On the left, that is, the right,
a white cherry branch with black blossoms.
Light shadows on your dark face.
You'd just taken a seat at the table
and put your hands, gone gray, upon it.
You look like a ghost
who's trying to summon up the living.
(And since I still number among them,
I should appear to him and tap:
good night, that is, good morning,
farewell, that is, hello.
And not grudge questions to any of his answers
that storm before the calm.)
Images of "Twenty Views of the Lachine Rapids" by Klaus Pfeiffer/by permission