MS (1942 / Cincinnati, Ohio)

The Translator

It was late in the year when the translator
Put down his pen.
Late, & the last leaves falling.

Someone was walking outside the house,
Their feet causing a soft rustling
As they moved across the leaf-strewn ground,
Translating the crushed sound
Of leaves
Into the sound tears might make,
Or rain might make, if it were
Mistaken for tears.

The translator's eyes are tired, so he
Removes his glasses.
Looking through the rooms one window
His weak eyes translate streetlamp
Into moon.
A heavy moon, unblinking, all seeing.
A yellow frozen jumbled juggler's moon-
Suspended in airless space, in the center
Of night-
Its skin thin as papyrus,
Filled with an untranslated language
Of mountain & crater.

The translator rises, walking outside
To draw cold water from the well.

Yet a part of him lingers behind
In the room-his cigarette smoke,
The smell of spilt wine, the lingering
Presence of something
Which resists translation.

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Comments (1)

Exquisite. A class act.