from Description of a Glowing Cobalt Blue

Jorge Esquinca

ALL remains to be told

the impulse in the feet
of that girl


through the trees
                           in a leap

                                           she perches
high in the branches
she swings

one to the next
                               from here to there

leaving her care
in other hands

all remains to be told

my father
believed truly in heaven

                 le gentil Nerval
would drag a crab
tied to a ribbon

one dawn
we found him
hung from a street-lamp

my father
believed truly in heaven
"read for me The Roses"

he asked in silence
from his bed at the hospital
how to forget the cold

of that dawn?
eighteen degrees below zero
death by hanging        it was ruled

all the birds of Paris
shone at daybreak
motionless in their flight

dream is a second life

my father spoke in silence
and let go of the ribbon
that held the crab

all remains to be told

EVERY tree is a threshold

the heron crosses
knowing just when

               —and she lands there

that there without name
which the heron intuits
in her way

she enters effortlessly
alights                            takes her leave
when she must

never before
                         never after

as though parting
were another portal
a tree that instinct delivers
and by nature she senses

i don't know how these things happen
speaks María de Jesús Crucificado
but the trees make themselves that little size

this the voice that read The Roses
beside a hospital bed
was the voice of a season

                                      at once a bridge
and its passage
as though parting
were another way
to be
                                      to take in

during the perfect time
on the unseen branch
of a tree we do not know 

ONCE shadow
spilled from my mouth

                           i wrote

i am the sunless dark the widower
the unconsoled         that wind
returns by night like a lullaby

once a wounded horseman
rode by my side
up the mountain

on his breast glowed the star
and his emblem was
the word Desdichado

my father spoke little         he drove
a cobalt blue Vauxhall
across the low plains

he prayed at sunrise
once bought us a popsicle
in Manzanillo at the plaza

the cables of the streetlights
brought a sudden cover of sparrows
i thought myself a living hero

beneath the stares of the gods
a lone ranger on the plains
under a low sky         always gray

i am driving toward the origin
my father spoke
in silence          the crab

took him with its claws
at the throat
                            i could not hear him

shadow once
spilled from my mouth
—that voice spelled out

when was i left with the wound? 

translated from the Spanish by Joshua Sperling