August 26, 2009
Hump Day Poetry: Rafael Pérez Estrada
A poem for a rainy day…
Chronicle of the Rain
One of her nipples was red, tepid, carnal; the other, blue, looked
made for death’s caress. They also brought to mind the luxuri-
ous faucets of a porcelain tub.
There’s a story of a woman who was devoured by the moon. It’s
said that her cries were made of silver.
Never write the words “tiger” and “dove” in the same line, for
the first may devour the second.
I was fascinated by the cloud the farmer kept anchored to the
door of his shack: “It’s very docile,” he explained, “and we milk
it three times a week. That’s all the land needs.”
I knew that he had assassinated the sea, for his hands were
“That swan is a rapist!” the frightened girl shouted at me, point-
ing at the erect neck of a ferocious swan. And I, who through
some strange interference shared her dreams, proposed at that
instant that we exchange nightmares.
The girls came running: “The sea, the sea!” they shouted.
“There’s a wave made of gold!”
I asked her to, I asked her like a child asking for the impossible: she
took off her shoes and clothes and walked all night long on the sea.
It was a forest of infinite trees, and each tree had a swing, and
in each swing was a dead child waiting to be resurrected.
A boy whose eyes were darkening asked me, “When I die, will
the sea cease to exist?” I chose not to disillusion him.
—Rafael Pérez Estrada, 2004
Translated by Steven J. Stewart