The Letter

April 4, 2021

The pigeon-house of letters
begin its impossible flight
from the trembling tables
where memory leans,
the weight of absence,
the heart, the silence.

I hear the wing-beat of letters
sailing toward their fate.

Wherever I go, I meet
women, men
badly wounded by absence,
withered by time.

Letters, stories, letters:
postcards, dreams,
fragments of tenderness
hurled into the sky,
sent from blood to blood,
from longing to longing.

Although my loving body
is under the earth now,
write to me on earth,
so I can write to you.

In the corner old letters,
old envelops grow mute
with the color of age
pressed down on the writing.
There the letters perish
filled with shivering.
There the ink feels death throes,
and the loose sheets fail,
and the paper fills with holes
like a small cemetery
of passions gone by,
of loves to come.

Although my loving body
is under the earth now,
write to me on earth,
so I can write to you.

When I'm about to write to you
the inkwells stir,
those cold black wells
blush and tremble,
and a clear human warmth
rises from the black depths.
When I start to write to you,
my bones start to write you:
I write with the indelible
ink of my love.

There goes my warm letter,
a pigeon forged in fire,
its two wings folded
and the address in the center.
Bird that only homes in
on its nest and air and sky,
your flesh, hands, eyes,
and the space of your breath.

And you will stay naked
inside your feelings,
without clothes, so you can feel
it all against your breast.

Although my loving body
is under the earth now,
write to me on earth,
so I can write to you.

Yesterday a letter was left
abandoned and unclaimed,
flying over the eyes
of someone who had lost his body.
Letters that stay alive
talking for the dead:
wistful paper, human,
without eyes to look at it.

While the eye-teeth keep growing,
I feel the gentle voice
of your letter grow
closer to an immense clamor.
It will come while I sleep,
if I can't stay awake.
And my wounds will be
the spilled inkwells,
the quivering mouths
that remember your kisses,
and with a voice no one hears
they will repeat: I love you.


Miguel Hernandez
Trans. Ted Genoways.

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