Poems Without Names
You have wings and I don't. You flit through the air like a butterfly,
while I go off to learn, from every last road on earth, what it means to be sad.
Something subtle and profound happens when you turn and look
back at the road you have traveled.
The road where you left no footprints, where all of life was left behind.
I always watch the sun go down because it takes something, I don't
know what, away from me.
There is still one difference left between us. You have a tenderness
grown weary and I have a weariness grown tender.
Of the twenty-four hours in a day, I will always leave you one to
abandon me, if that's what you should want.
If you give me twenty-three hours each day, you can keep one
hour to think about leaving me, if you use the other twenty-three
This hour is yours. I respect all sixty minutes of it. I stop breathing
so that nothing, not even the air filling my lungs, disturbs or distracts
This is the hour of my self-annihilation, the hour in which I bind
myself to my heart, in which I turn my back on time, face the wall of
my angst, and tremble as a century passes through an hourglass.
But when the hour ends and I open my eyes and see that you have
not left me, I greet you without making a single gesture, without
saying a single word, as if you yourself were a new miracle flowering
for me alone.
It is the daily miracle that never ceases to be miraculous, the daily
agony that never ceases to be an agony, and the daily joy that never
ceases to be this marvelous, pure, unprecedented joy.
Every day at nightfall she goes out with her lantern to light a road
in the middle of nowhere.
It is a road nobody ever crosses, lost in the darkness of night, and
lost too, in the light of day. It is a road that comes from nowhere and
The neighboring forest gnaws at the margins of the road, the trees
grip it from below with their roots, and weeds grow in between the
cracks in the rock.
But every night she comes out with the first star and hands a
lantern above this solitary road.
Nobody will ever come this way. It is a difficult journey and there
is no reason to come. Some roads have shade and other roads cover
longer distances in half the time. And there are still other roads that
make a straight line through an endless maze of streets. There are
many other roads in this world and people will travel them all. But
there is not one person who will set foot on hers.
Why then does she light the road for a wayfarer who doesn't exist?
And why this constant show of obstinacy every single night?
And why on earth does she smile when she lights the lantern?
Even in your way of forgetting there is something beautiful.
I thought all forgetting was darkness, but your forgetting is luminous,
like a great radiance.
Like the dawn wiping out the stars!
Your hands have a strange clarity. Have you been walking among
the stars? Or did you raise them toward the dawn through a blue,
Aren't you afraid of having luminous hands?
In the end the only thing that might excuse me for the failure that
is my life is the vague, absentminded way in which I go walking down
every road on earth.
I will caress the wind and smile at the darkness just in case you're
looking at me in the darkness or kissing me in the wind.
Your dark velvet eyes are going to close. One fine day, your dark
velvet eyes are going to close like two wild blackberries. They are
going to close. Your eyes beveled in onyx, encased in chests of gold,
and adorned with blue lashes will close one day for all time, for all
days and all nights, and they will never look again upon the infinite
green of trees or the eternal blue of the sea.
Your eyes, like two wild blackberries, will close one day, and my
hands will be far, far away.
I'm happy because it just rained and the wet earth smells just for me.
D U L C E M A R I A L O Y N A Z
translated from the Spanish by James O'Connor
Archipelago Books, 2016