May 5th Night
I've told Oquendo,
Oquendo de Amat, who lives there,
that my girlfriend
was taken away in a transatlantic boat
and every night I see her
emerge from my dreams
distancing herself with her joy
saying goodbye, with a flower
whitein her hair.
I wonder if I'm deadI ask myself
and I still waiting to be picked up.
Oquendo, you know about these things,
you're a tree no longer targeted
by the woodcutter of time,
tell me if I'm dead
or tell me if the transatlantic boat was forgetfulness.
You, sweet adventurerof cariños
why don't you take me to your new home
because here, on earth, it started raining
and I'm lostlike so many others
I don't want to wait for the wind
and the rain to bring down the remaining leaves
I don't want to see death even while full
let me see you take care of the women's names
whom you loved so much
like someone watering roses
in serene waters.
Today, the only name in which I
is a departing magnolia
and the wind, all that rain,
is an absence opening up to such pure whiteness.
Oquendo, make me believe that a word
would bring her back.
I still carry with me,
where the heart once was,
the warmth of her sleep
like an empty night.
I hear her smilingdistant
while saying goodbye to me.
Where are you going, I say with the dreamer's voice,
where is that new happiness taking you.
But it's crowded and we don't hear each other.
Take care, she says, don't forget
open up a window every night
for them to feel the wind and the moon,
remember they need water
that has been with the stars.
But I don't manage to reply, I say goodbye
in the crowd
and her white silk handkerchief
The transatlantic boat was full of light,
enormouslike a singing
I saw her laughing on the banister,
pointing to her star.
It was getting darker, Oquendo,
and I saw her no more.
Oquendo, tell me if I'm dead
or if that transatlantic boat
Translated by Ilan Stavans