in dreams: for Johnny

you come in dreams
so many nights
reminding me
of our life
together
blueberry pie
Fanner 50s
model planes
Fort Apache
the LIRR
museum trips
Saturday matinees
at the movies
the time we were thrown out
for cracking peanuts
in the shell
the floor littered
around our feet
your closet floor
White Castle
2am breakfasts
at the Golden Coach
your grin
when you had a winning hand
at poker
the boy scouts
Troop 150
those 5 mile hikes
to find potatoes
in a farmer’s field
building your fence
in the backyard
of your first home
the barbecues
Christmas morning
the shaving kit
for hot lather
you gave me
the year I had my beard
and the tears
in your eyes
when you said goodbye
and the tears
in my eyes
upon waking
dear brother
of mine

from Memories and Weeks by Pablo Neruda

II

The weeks creep past,
form clouds, lose themselves,
conceal themselves in the sky,
come to rest there
like light faded.

Time is long, Padro,
time is short, Rosa;
and the weeks, exact
in their roles, exhausted,
pile up like berries,
stop palpitating.

Till one day, the wind,
rumorous, unaware,
opens them, stretches them,
beats them, and now
they mount like tattered
flags which return
to the lost homeland.

That is how memories are.

translated by Alastair Reid

Entertaining Adjutant Li by Wei Ying-wu

When we were fifteen we both served at court
we climbed the red steps through incense at dawn
we toured the Han Garden in bloom
and bathed on Lishan in the snow
but the immortal has flown and isn’t expected back
his advisors are scattered assuming they’re alive
meeting you today as I think about the past
one cup makes me happy, the next one sad

translated by Red Pine