Poem | Untitled

If, all of a sudden, something gets lost
something I absolutely need right now—
a pencil, a paper, the eraser—
I survey the chaos with hapless eyes,
unable to sink my hand into it.
I give it one last look, checking to see
if it surfaces just because I’m looking.
If I submerged a part of me, I know,
maybe poking around a little bit...
But immediately my mind wanders,
the context crumbles, the eyes don’t obey.
I lean out the window to give whatever
I’m looking for time to make an appearance.
Now and then my pathetic method works:
the eyes hit their mark and everything changes.
But I’d have to get out of there, just then,
in that very moment of discernment,
leaving it all as is, in disorder,
as it was in Assisi, with the man
no one ever saw plowing a furrow
because he would see creatures everywhere.
Because this is seeing: creatures, not objects.
To possess the eyesight of such a man!
Nothing would go astray in the desk drawers,
it’s possible they wouldn’t even exist,
those drawers that I’ve jam-packed with importance.
Every time, more widowed of my possessions,
every time, more bland to my writing tools.
Why not take off like him? What stops me from
returning to the woods, the bird, the wolf?


—translated from the Spanish by Kathleen Snodgrass

Published in the December 4, 2015 issue: 

Fabio Morábito is a poet, fiction writer, and essayist. Born of Italian parents in Alexandria, Egypt, he has lived in Mexico City for over forty years. His many awards include the Carlos Pellicer Prize for his first book of poems, Lotes baldíos, and the Antonin Artaud Prize for his short story collection, Grieta de fatiga. Kathleen Snodgrass is the author of The Fiction of Hortense Calisher (1993). Her translations of Mexican poets have appeared in such journals as Boulevard Magenta and Poetry London, and in the anthology Mexican Poetry Today (Shearsman Books, 2010).

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