CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
translated by Krista Ingebretson
They burn a twist, between my eyes, and the intermediate hierarchy of an image this
The zephyr rocked the dampened branches of a pimienta tree outside. It seemed to rain.
How did it not rear up foolish, my voice
in your eardrum,
when not even the hearth protruded from my lips,
words only rhythms or codes and not language not even what we believed?
Toothed into the crusts of the eyes we gave ourselves,
so as to not listen even to a stranger's language, because how
to listen to it when it has broken one’s own language and
conversation no longer sprouts from the house nor from history familial and domestic,
when words do not emerge from the mouth of the father and
from the grave of the others, nor from the oven
because it’s already off?
The codes were suspended there,
in a place discovered later,
when we found out about the rain.
My lips’ shiver in your pupil
was language that your flesh understood.
We didn’t fear.
Death came just so and took it, night.
The broken line of your geometry trembles me,
when for its death you shed your body.
Oblique death weighs over your back with a sorrow, a knot;
fragile death that erects itself a column in your steps.
Not like definition or saying tears, moans or anguish,
are a pain and a carnal sorrow, a void to bite like fruit.
On the floor we breathe noises all of the sea and its things,
the effort of pushing vestiges to the past.
Over the sea floor the frozen plans are pushed by who.
On the floor, suddenly, we hear vapors emerge
from the obtuse sites of who.
Howls low or mute come from the holes in the air,
from the swarms of light, from those that make up
dusk and darkness.
Before this thickness, pieces of affairs cast on the cities
or the corners of the eyes,
behind this viscosity, absences, sites indistinct
chinks of presences and dissolved bones.
Outside of this density that I touch myself and you see me,
outside of this consistency only death inhabits,
because all the bones in the lips aren’t enough,
because the heart in the sarcophagus of the body is not enough,
and the eyes swollen with fear facing the last moment,
bursted dying flowers,
they drag themselves dejected toward the swarms of light
Cempasúchil, copal—in the upper part of the low bookcase—libation, oblation.
With arms broken and without direction we looked at the unaccustomed image:
a great virgin expiring facing forward and in front of us
and the sight of those that crowded round us relentlessly.
A great virgin with a look of stiff wood,
with eyes liquefied by the flames, the aromas
drained between the restless multitude.
We came up and left, we returned to the stairs of facts,
but the multitude clogged in the middle of the room, of the altars,
in the center of the places in which nothing remains,
but the yellow flowers of death and the copal smoke in churches,
but the old olive trees,
but the great atria and open chapels,
but the baptismal fonts,
and the multitude annihilated on the thresholds of mosques,
knocked down in front of the temples
still wants to know what we wanted to know,
dying it demands that we come down and speak,
that we come up and get off the stairs
or that the party end.
Poet and essayist Angélica Tornero was born in Mexico City. Her numerous works include the volumes of essays La maneras del delirio: Las poéticas de David Huerta y Francisco Hernández and La letra rota, and the poetry collections Fotografías en los labios de alguien and Hasta no recoger el corazón de golpe.
Krista Ingebretson’s translations have appeared in BOMB, ecopoetics, and Denver Quarterly, among other publications. She works in publishing and lives in Brooklyn.