By EDUARDO MOGA.
Translated by Terence Dooley.
AGAIN, AS IF the wind bore you away; tethered again to flight. Again.
Your flesh is flight: you run inwards; you flee to where the dark burns all the names away, or becomes all the names: train, time, children, tomorrow, love. I clothe myself in that inwardness, although your being close to me – you take root in my shadow – doesn’t make you less ethereal: light, with no collar-bone, yielding lips, hours depleted by their own extinction.
Again, I harvest the bronze of disappearance. Again, concrete and wings. And the fields with now and then a house or barn marking our separation – although we continue in this sinkhole of footsteps and muddy loudspeakers – accompanying our farewells with the indifferent jubilation of trees and the sterile triumph of self-denial.
A bird alights on the croup of the train, like a cattle-egret on a zebu. My fingers take on the clumsiness instilled by fear; their breath is laboured, their nails pant in revolt. The silence solidifies, but floats upwards, light as air: propelled by the vast machinery of clouds and engines. Everything stalls and accelerates: at the same point, with the selfsame tremor. Parting is ulcerating. And I, without leaving the platform, depart as much as you. The wound laughs out loud. The wound spreads through the gut.
The station clock is slow. You entrain as if the train created you. Each separation is a beginning.
The heads each side of you belong to nobody. The suitcases too are orphaned like corpses. I see no people, or words, or animals, only rails, even though the bulging belly of the caterpillar hides them from view; I don’t see your eyes that look at me with the helplessness of the dying, only their present absence, their luminous sightlessness. But I can’t help seeing the torrent of the day: its splinters harass me like wasps. And I foresee its evil, that will torment me when I breathe and when I write, when I wonder why I breathe or write, when all that I’ve lost weighs down my eye-lids, like a pyre, and chokes me with impatience and with love.
Again. Time after time: a chain of humiliations, like the monstrous alloy of a machine waiting to be unleashed, as a swallow explodes from the crown of a cork-tree and tempers the ardour of the blue with its black/white phosphorescent wings.
The proximity of impenetrable screens, of knife-wielding shadows that spawn a thing without a body is an insult that yet stands. I can’t traverse it. I can’t vanquish it. You’re gone already, but you are still here. I hold you tight to me. I imprison you/embalm you, I swallow you in my love. I am born you and I die you.
Again. How many times. What new migration will you join, if everything is linked to its betrayal, if what is left undone imprisons us, if nothing guarantees the continuance of the breast, the breasts, if in infinity for so much rupture there’s no room. In what train will your expulsion be confirmed, what magnitude express your shrinkage, your growth shrinking you, what x-ray reveal the secret of your endurance and my grief. Where will I be when you fall like urgent rain or like a body to be rescued from a swarm of hands? And where will you settle, borne by solitude, carried off by sleep, with the starry night on your shoulders, and the tulle of vanishing around your ankles?
A guard comes by to move people away from the train. I move away. You sit on, in the adjustable half-light, in your fireproof seat. I look out to where you will be swallowed by the pillars of the aqueduct, castellated by herons, pillars through which will flow, the electricity, the iron, the cloudy transparency of your tights with their promise of the skin beneath.
Again. So many times. You’re still here, but now I love your absence. The density becomes rounded, like the firmament, like the glass roof under which I wait, under which I have waited my whole life, that deflects the cascading sun onto the wastelands and the cheap flats.
Things withdraw into themselves, aroused by the imminence of their motion, and they then observe their bounds: the shrinkage that confirms and ramifies them. Their combustion is tumultuous as a knife. When they lash out against their surroundings, they sweat and die.
You’re gone. Again. Almost no-one is left on the platform but the guard and me. Another swallow flies over the abandoned rails shining in the solar rain. I don’t know why I wave you off: you can’t see me.
Eduardo Moga has published 19 volumes of poetry, as well as travel books, diaries and essays. A selection of his poetry has been translated into English by Terence Dooley, and is available from Shearsman Books as Selected Poems. Shearsman also recently issued Dooley’s translation of Moga’s 2019 prose sequence Mi Padre (My Father). The prose poem published here is ‘Poem V’ from his latest collection Tú no morirás (You will not die). Moga lives near Barcelona, Spain.