from reverses

Víctor Rodríguez Núñez

[outsides or the groundhog gorges on twilight]

the mountain against an assonant sky
at the point of quartering in its blue fixedness
air crystalizes black coal cedars
and horses scare off the cold
instead of flies
                          Cartesian geese
advance like syllables
at the edge of the sonnet figurative lake
and break formation
                                    when crossing the snowdrop
of an enjambment blind ditch

everything still to be done
the sign leaking through three branches
essentialized by wind and corrected by snow
they tempt the frogs the only string
night's missing
stuffed with yellow flowers the groundhog
has once more become drive
yesterday weary sycamores fell
and starlings in flight
stir up the shadow charring
the fear that's come back frightened from outside?

against the glass deer panting
like restlessness greedy for paper
without your glow penumbra now lets itself hear
a tremble sheltering
being is innocent but washes its hands
thunderbolt doesn't startle the porcupine
loaded down with all the rain
drops strung through its quills
they don't stop radiating in shadow
fear its bones
on the edge of the cornfield in the absence of snow

death is a squirrel over asphalt
a hill against a clenching sky
I'm going to pull out a willow on each corner
aimless water
won't stop growling among stones
grass over you is a misprint
calligraphy copied from oaks
deboned by winter
tornado warning
don't change their routine

stealth among siren blades
the trampled squirrel
                                      paving the way for you
grass still has the memory
of its green future
                                that's why it resists
the frost's pessimist fury
arid spring with black tulips
ruminated by deer beneath the moon
in the soul of the ice the current
is a regret

the sun in the mist escaping from shinbones
never caressed
promiscuous landscape and at its center
the stain of a pond's purity
ducks sleeping in the torrent
imagine you spread out on the indigo lawn
the mourning dove in the snow sings out of tune
like a toothless girl facing the piano
on the conceited ice
the groundhog gorges on twilight
my mother's words

as if you'd forgotten something on the fire
soot enflamed
doesn't linger before false crosses
music of contradictions
transgresses the window
its ash ellipsis
all the wind in the world
couldn't get rid of the rotten shadow
its sharp clots
the void flooded the nether regions
and it became necessary to inspire light with prayers

but no prayer could frighten you
calm returned when with her lone pupil
my mother defied
the also absolute eye of the hurricane
nothingness in the kettles
                                             everything left to contemplate
breath nicking its knife
in sleepless stones
and the moon whetting its wounds
in rough muteness
not galaxies not gasses not dark matters

incoherent hole like being's navel
grows in the constellation of Eridanus
southeast of Orion
more than a seedbed of light years away
the right map of background radiations
showed at that point its tenuous cold spot
reaffirmed by the echo of cosmic microwaves
which followed the creation of the universe
that weak signal resounding ever since the Big Bang
the apple has no second intentions
but with no illusion the world ends

a southern bird
picks at seeds that challenge winter
and watches me from its feathered indifference
its vertex of fire so we don't forget
the deep distance
the caretaker has rusted in the mist
his yellow lamp no longer scares shadows
in the waiting there's an eye watching itself
the instant's snow doesn't stop falling
the overflowing candle the last volcano
outside the snow and workers argue

the air collapses into itself pronounces itself
even the ant knows it rhymes with scant
on fire's back who's writing?
fate is my good move
like the duck headfirst in the water
thirst is current hunger stickiness
the duck searches in the hard fluidity
and its shady plumage
makes all the frozen being glow
form is ideological
with contemplation the world transforms

[sanities or you're a tempest in a teapot]

with a sun on the left hand
that just punctured the sky's peel
and an autumn prying into the marrow
searching for some kind of plunder
                                                             to rekindle death
corn's beauty prevails
its orderly green
its insurrection against uncertainty
they're all right the wings
the copulation of instants all this clucking
I don't know what's got you worried in the twilight

that incoherent sky could make anyone cry
you're a tempest in a teapot
string unplucked faithful sprinkling
that's why I take you to the fire
powerless to calm either
the twilight's worry before you
this isn't the point where I left you behind
gnawed at by light
not beginning or end just whistle
and fixedness sprouts exposed
with no suspension points

he advances among the dogs who sniff at his aura
one licks the wounds of steps forward
while the other's still overcome by shadow
there's a romantic backdrop a realist church
the pair of abbots faces the wall
from a lone collarbone hang red rags
the faithful glimpse the promised beard
fire of sunflowers suffering
from autumn's burns
                                     tomato fire
in a dawn still unripe

radiated on this shore
truth with horseshoes dark side of the sun
unable to find relief on the other side
where nothing comes from and everything goes to
something as humble as inhaling
shadow flush with fever
the wind disciplines the bitter brilliance
the metal of the birds at the point of falling
recycled spasms
                             anxiety in shreds
like the constant north

with your parrot feather and in my red notebook
the future doesn't linger in the hands of death
barely an instant and destiny will move
someone rides the camel and smiles at you
dials the wrong number and won't hang up
on the other sidewalk asks you for the horizon
it's the angel you're waiting for
it happened to the traveler in his first autumn
not exactly a golden complexion
with mother of pearl and ebony
like on a modernista bedspread

or a face with friendly scars
some mole that grew too big
only a sensation from touching it that
it's a reflection with goose bumps
naked unthankful like a rose
yet at last satisfied
                                 from the absence of an end
since the stars know nothing of ingratitude
no more speeches only Christmas carols
and in the red triangle the solidary star
what never began comes to a bad end

Cayama's palm trees embroidered on the almost Persian
carpet of cane fields
the lakes flowered in poverty
and Darío's Momotombo in the rearview mirror
the Valley of Aburrá from the tiny window
in the cloudy house
                                  Oregon forests
and in their center the freshwater beach
where you melted my being
blessing for those who went blind
from watching the eclipse

lamb wooden post knife
                                          metonymic distance
saddle bit bridle
identity codes
hammock oilskin boots quilt
strategies of identification
dead chicken still moving its wings
fissure in the schema
lucidity is just a preview of the void
a drop of stupidity will cure you
thanksgiving sealed

the evening raises something new if you look
with the corner of the eye of a hurricane
you see the trees like an idea
tremble at the simple
brush of the cardinal feathers
and the same terror's been felt by the sky
that's been quartered where
the lawless cardinal raised its image
the evening falls something new if it doesn't forget
the blood whirling in your hands
hopefully you'd stay still

in the green easy chair facing the fake stove
I braid for you the parallel lines
to see if you can finally fit in the world
the unipolar fever
you need a northerly to freeze your feet
a southerly for sleeplessness
who will bring together all these bits and pieces
made of illegible wood?
into what ash do you shed this inflammable mood?
the worker spitting when you cross
the flame not helpful with the lines

the leper lip
                     the tree made of garlands
this turbid language
Agabama in times of thaw
a golden warmth I pour
while my insides find their place
beneath the absent moon
smoky times when the tulips
bloom in the lingering snow
there'll be no letup
                                 the dawn sprouting

translated from the Spanish by Katherine M. Hedeen