Songs of the Journey
translated by Dana Delibovi
The feeble whiteness of a page profaned with figures,
a notebook opened in the circle of her torch,
these are her traveling companions,
both motive and sign of the long march:
five lemons, two loaves of bread, and a can of tuna,
the girl’s towel, the boy’s egg,
and thirty-six years of debt.
Migration is the last hope,
and like all hope, an illusion,
when your country is a hub for tourists and a home for dictators.
The migrant mother talks to me. The fragments of her life
resemble the strokes
in the notebook of numbers,
and these, she says, she must surrender to God--
without a single proof of God’s existence.
three lemons is all I have,”
says the boy, and he shows them
in his mournful, dirty palm.
“I need you to buy
three lemons, I need to get
because my mother is hungry."
The boy's logic is perfect:
circular but clear,
since justice is a contradiction in this world.
A whack to the boy’s unfolded fingers;
the three lemons roll away.
The foreman’s nihilistic laughter
echoes in the boy’s uneasy silence.
Near the boy’s calloused feet,
a beggar without a past picks up the fruits
then hands him five dollars.
Note: These poems have been excerpted from a group of new poems, Liricas del viaje, publication pending.