Path with Voices
Of the poems you used to write,
none remains. Against your light
opens a path of spines and silence.
You walk it, lulled by the steps
that take you away from this page.
You don’t hear the call that warns you:
don’t touch the surface and don’t lie down,
advance through the light toward the shadow,
and be more shadow than the shadow,
more mist among the mist.
Deaf to the stars, you cut a branch
and catch it alight and you wake up
with ashes on the edge of your bed:
once again, you write words with no object
in search of the threshold: you pile up
stones and words until the day
flies in your face.
With its light, you lose the pain and your memory.
Over the River, the Mist
I don’t write to you: the ash descends over the river.
I kneel and from the edge
I let the sky pass behind me. In it,
your body disappears.
The wind confuses you with the mist.
Free your hand from my love:
mark the stars with your eyes.
There is no trace besides your face pushed away by the wind.
-And from here
we look out over the burnt marshes.
Translated by Arthur Dixon
David Preiss (Santiago, 1973) is a Chilean poet who has published the verse collections Señor del vértigo (1992/1994), Y demora el alba (1995), Oscuro mediodía (2000), Bocado (2011), and Retrato en movimiento (2015). He has been awarded a grant from the Pablo Neruda Foundation and the National Book and Reading Council. His poems appear in various Chilean and international anthologies.