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About this Poem 

“I wrote the Spanish original during my first visit to Havana in June 2012, after Lorca’s “Soneto Gongorino en que el poeta manda a su amor una paloma,” “Sonnet After Góngoro in which the Poet Sends His Sweetheart a Dove.” As I made the translation, I noticed the beautiful rich tripleness of the rhythms of Spanish, and the beautiful percussive eighth-note brevities of my beloved Usahn (the Englishes of the USA). I’m still hoping to wake up one morning able to hear and speak all the languages, although stammering offers awakenings of its own.”
Suzanne Gardinier

Stammering translated sonnet in which the poet sends the rains of Havana to her love in New York

Got your message, here
in the letter you didn’t write:
burned, with a forbidden seal,
marking the burial site
of what has neither voice nor definition,
what has no face, no peace, no place to sleep,
a whisper in which I can’t [inaudible]
—what the sea doesn’t say, whispering, every night,
and when the rain comes to erase the streets
tomorrow, & all the dusks that follow that,
and runs around making up street dances
from what you once said, I’ll have this map,
without details, made of what I’ve missed,
telling me that that which isn’t is.

Spanish:

Soneto Balbuciendo En Que La Poeta Manda A Su Amor En Nueva York La Lluvia de La Habana

He leído el mensaje que mandaste,
aquí, en la carta no me has escrito:
quemada, y con sello prohibido,
diciéndome dónde enterraste
lo que no tiene voz ni luz ni cara,
ni paz, ni un lugar para dormir,
susurro donde yo puedo oír
cada noche lo que no dice el mar,
y cuando la lluvia borrará las calles
mañana, y los crepúsculos después,
y correrá haciendo bailes
de lo que me dijiste una vez,
yo tendré este mapa, sin detalles,
que me dice que lo que no es, es.
 

Copyright © 2015 by Suzanne Gardinier. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 15, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2015 by Suzanne Gardinier. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 15, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

Suzanne Gardinier

Suzanne Gardinier

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on January 25, 1961, poet and essayist Suzanne Gardinier earned her BA at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her MFA at Columbia University.

by this poet

poem

Between the blinds Past the coded locks
Past the slanted gold bars of the day
Smelling of all-night salt rain on the docks
Of grief Of birth Of bergamot Of May

In the wind that lifts the harbor litter
Wet against my fingers in a dream
Salvaging among the tideline's bitter