Marco Polo’s Dilemma: for Margaret Randall by Victor Rodriguez Nunez

I’ve seen something of the world
Managua dust storms
bare snow
covering the pines along the road to Smolyan
and the flags arguing atop a tower
of the University of Puerto Rico

I’ve seen something of the world
Palenque’s bewitched stones
the bay of honey
forgotten by summer at Ponta Delgada
and the Red Square
painted by Kandinsky

I’ve seen something of the world
and it only deepens my sorrow
Nothing belongs to me

translated by Katherine M. Hedeen

Carpet: for Lourdes Casal by Nancy Morejon

The idea of a poem
comes in through the window,
perhaps performed, with no notice.
Did I maybe manage to fool
so much lost longing. . .?
It’s as if a carpet,
as if someone placed
a carpet at my feet
and now steady I should take
sharp flights, with benevolence
of that reader whose dream nested
the reading of Boti. . .
I can’t. . .
Oh steady dream,
oh clear sails toward my red body. . .
And the idea of the poem
is no longer,
is no longer.

translated by Katherine M. Hedeen

Under the Wheels by Luis Lorente

Why do the dead want hearts
İf they’re keeping on barefoot,
stealthily, sunken in a bottle?
Why the need to proclaim themselves, write up manifestos,
raise barricades upon the very shifting sand
if they’ll never be able to see or hear or speak?
Why feel hunger when now the sowing
has spread to the hills of dim purgatory?
How is it they’re obsessed with knowing their future
if they’re only granted what’s final?
Why cry out for company if the sentence is irrevocable?
Why ask to see one other, dialogue, make after dinner conversation
if spiders copulate behind their portraits?
Why are arrows so pressing when arrows were what
changed them to eternal poplars and statues?
Why ask for a ceasefire when they don’t disagree,
aren’t alternatives, don’t aspire to power?
Why yearn so for incidences of spring?
What more do the dead want?
What more do they want to know?

translated by Katherine M. Hedeen

Salt of Memory: for Mariano Arias by Pablo Armando Fernandez

Fortunate the one who at the root
has within hand’s reach
the flower.
The sediment of centuries cuts
the tutelary home into the stone.
By those rooms does one enter
the labyrinth
where light scatters its enigmas.
Fortunate the one who in the pyramidal
founds the rising stairs.
In the beginning was writing
the stellar signs of continuity.
There rest the codes of knowledge:
the mountain and the river.
Fortunate the one who finds
his fulfillment in sap
and aspires to the spiraling perfume
of the flower formed by stars.

translated by Katherine M. Hedeen