When Fear is Dream's Excuse
For A. Arrufat and the narrow parameter in which he dreams
Fear of the trite word
incapable of naming purity, everyday chaos,
taunts from another time I thought better
but rotten as well, torn apart.
Fear of fleeing fear,
of being left alone in the hills, tumultuous
orphan childhood without memory.
Fear of the frost in my eyes when sunset announces itself
fear of mother and her brief existence on this earth,
the absence of light and of mother.
Fear of improbable happiness, a ghost delighting in silences
God fails to protect because everything is supposed to be mine.
Fear of death’s calloused hands
its face staring from mirrors
the mocking mask of its years, its flights and arguments.
Fear of becoming someone else, of that poem where
I name and leave myself,
of innocence dressed in rags
the dust of a city collapsing in my hands
with neither howls
nor common sense.
Fear of the morning mist
when autumn leaves fall
and others pretend to be small evasive gods,
from that place where we rest our heads,
the only place that is absolutely free
where night by night we exorcize (as if they belong to us)
every one of our dreams.
Translated by Margaret Randall
Originally published in World Literature Today 89, no. 5 (September 2015).
Yanira Marimón (b. 1971, Matanzas) writes poetry and prose. Among her recent titles are the poetry collection La sombra infinita de los vencidos (2005) and a novel, Donde van a morir las mariposas (2006).
Margaret Randall (b. 1936, New York) lived in Cuba from 1969 to 1980. In 1970 and 2011 she was a judge of the Casa de las Américas literary contest. Her books include To Change the World: My Years in Cuba (2009) and Haydée Santamaría, Cuban Revolutionary: She Led by Transgression, just out from Duke University Press.