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Recorded by Ana Valverde Osan, September 30, 2016.

Songs to Berenice, II

translated by Mary Crow

You weren’t there on my threshold,
nor did I go out looking for you to fill
     the hollows forged by nostalgia,
hollows that foretell children or animals
     created out of the substance of frustration.
Step by step you arrived through the air,
little tightrope walker on a plank floating
     above a pit of wolves,
masked in the radiant tatters of February.
Condensing yourself out of dazzling transparency, you came
     trying on other bodies as if they were ghosts inside out,
little anticipations of your electric wrapping—
sea urchin of mist,
globe of inflamed thistledown,
magnet absorbing its fatal food,
feathery gust that spins and stops circling an ember,
near a tremor—.
And already you had appeared in this world,
intact in your immaculate blackness from head to tail,
more marvelous even than the Cheshire cat,
with your portion of life like a red pearl
     shining between your teeth.


Cantos a Berenice, II

No estabas en mi umbral
ni yo salí a buscarte para colmar los huecos que fragua la nostalgia
y que presagian niños o animales hechos con la sustancia de la frustración.
Viniste paso a paso por los aires,
pequeña equilibrista en el tablón flotante sobre un foso de lobos
enmascarado por los andrajos radiantes de febrero.
Venías condensándote desde la encandilada transparencia,
probándote otros cuerpos como fantasmas al revés,
como anticipaciones de tu eléctrica envoltura
—el erizo de niebla,
el globo de lustrosos vilanos encendidos,
la piedra imán que absorbe su fatal alimento,
la ráfaga emplumada que gira y se detiene alrededor de un ascua,
en torno de un temblor—.
Y ya habías aparecido en este mundo,
intacta en tu negrura inmaculada desde la cara hasta la cola,
más prodigiosa aún que el gato de Cheshire,
con tu porción de vida como una perla roja brillando entre los dientes.

Olga Orozco, "Songs to Berenice, II / Cantos a Berenice, II," from Engravings Torn from Insomnia. Copyright © 2002 by The Estate of Olga Orozco. Translation copyright © 2002 by Mary Crow. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Olga Orozco, "Songs to Berenice, II / Cantos a Berenice, II," from Engravings Torn from Insomnia. Copyright © 2002 by The Estate of Olga Orozco. Translation copyright © 2002 by Mary Crow. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Olga Orozco

by this poet

poem

translated by Mary Crow

And don’t you feel also, perhaps, a stormy sorrow on the skin of time,
like a scar that opens again
there where the sky was uprooted?
And don’t you feel sometimes how that night gathers its tatters into an

2
poem

translated by Mary Crow

My most beautiful hiding places,
places that best fit my soul’s deepest colors,
are made of all that others forgot.

They are solitary sites hollowed out in the grass’s caress,
in a shadow of wings, in a passing song;

2