Is this Orlando's oak or are these oaks from Austin?
Is this Hudson's ombu or the one beside the car
that dragged Julio-my-almost brother from life?
Paz's banyan tree, that was also Shakuntala's?
The willows of Garcilaso? The one that I myself planted?
Poplars of love, or that one in winter
from which half-dead birds fell at my feet?
Trusty figs, among the dust and gardens?
That axis in the tropism of infinite moons,
a pale eucalyptus of perfumed down?
Those with lacquer-red flowers under fiery suns?
The birch/abedul I imagined black, for the ebony/abenuz,
until I touched its white, ringed bark?
The essential tree of Goethe's imagination?
Or the one in whose shade I lost the world
that was itself a murmur of friendly voices
and I see a river flow that is the same always,
whereas I watch it and am no longer the same?
Time Without Keys
Translated by Sarah Pollack
New Directions, 2023