Tuesday, February 10, 2015



I who live close by

bear witness that at certain hours

of the night or day

it floods the areas of the square where it lives

and enters the windows of neighboring houses;

it's more important than the corporeal

beauty of the trees because even the blind can see it

through the illusion of perfume,

as through music.

Often, at any hour,

I tried like a sleuth to find where that heavenly

fragrance came from and I reached the conclusion

that it's simply like the soul

lodging nowhere and all about.



I would like to be your favorite pillow

where you rest your ears at night

to be your secret and the fence

around your sleep; asleep or awake

to be your door, your light when you go away,

someone who does not try to be loved.

To escape the anxiety in my complaints,

and manage at times to be what I am; nothing,

never to be afraid of losing you

through fickleness and unfaithfulness,

nor pointlessly grant to you

the tedious, vulgar faithfulness

of those abandoned who prefer

to die instead of suffer, and do not die.


Silvina Ocampo
translated from the Spanish by Jason Weiss
New York Review Books, 2015