Barbs to perpetuate the pretense
under a rain cut with signs
of the barricade’s burden.
The downpour creates a double that distorts the true wetness of water;
Perhaps it is only that, the fact of water, that misleads us,
the spotlights fake. The new images, their margins.
The fall is a color TV set that transmits the path of an arrow
shot from the crossbow, the pistol, the tank
towards a wooden horse with a labyrinth traced on its shoulder.
Cry! You will cry,
you will break the corners of my eyes
when you find the drawing hidden behind the door.
You will cry when our house crumbles beneath itself,
when clouds slip in under the door and wet mist covers the rooms,
I will watch you come from the kitchen carrying in your eyes
the uncertain forgetting of goodbye,
the moisture you taste will be a pit of words covered by a certain black,
a certain forgetting;
your mouth will be a file trapped by sadness,
swallowed words that little by little lose their memories
and which for a time at least
will be only image, which will later fall beyond the range of your voice.
You will cry and I will not avoid the blows upon hearing the drip of your tears
I will fall into the mirror that all canvas,
all quadrilaterals keep hidden on the inside.
On the other side of the canvas there is no wind or fog,
nothing besides an inland breeze
a garden full of dry leaves, of books we have read so many times,
of walls that have so many times collapsed on us
belatedly; like ripe fruit that we pass between us
from voice to voice
to see if they still hold something of the moisture that prompted this journey,
to see if in the seeds that we spew onto the plate
there is something worth keeping.
Tell me for once would you cry remembering the hand that held your smell,
your sound; or the words that you closed inside until delivering them to me
like an unending earthquake;
you will cry, and there will be no literature for it,
you will wait, hoping that the voice might become what cannot be,
and through tears you will see that no hand will catch your voice
as it falls.
[Let us collect ashes]
Let us collect ashes of burned ships,
going back to our hands, even. Back to those questions:
“Over what conclusions are we feigning debate?”
We have so many ideas to lose there. We drown so quickly
that we miss even the pleasure of the scream, the open throat.
We are ghosts stepping on barbs in the night.
We have a thousand wrinkles in our gaze. Lost.
Sometimes we wait to feel voices sinking nothing else, splintering,
words buried close to the ear.
Translated by Gwendolyn Harper
Rodrigo Arroyo (Curicó, 1981) is a Chilean poet, visual artist, and editor. He has published the verse collections Chilean Poetry (2008), Vuelo (2009), Mausoleo (2012), and Incomunicaciones (2013). As a visual artist, he has presented the individual exhibition Untitled (Espacio G, Valparaíso). He has participated in collective exhibitions at the Centro de Extensión of the Universidad de Talca (Estamos lejos de la apariencia engañosa, del efecto (carnaciones y vacío)); at the Centro de Extensión of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Santiago (De Otro Lugar); and at Laboratorios Químicos Aduanas –Valparaíso– (Nuevo Medio: Crisis Acción). He is the co-founder and director of Ediciones Inubicalistas in Valparaíso.
Gwendolyn Harper has translated work by Chilean writers Pedro Lemebel, Lina Meruane, and Nelly Richard, as well as the Spanish author Emilia Pardo Bazán. Her translations and essays have appeared in D21 Editions, JoLT, and The Caravan. She will be starting an MFA in fiction at Brown University this fall.