From 'Homenaje para iniciados'

Translated by Judah Rubin

From Homenaje para iniciados (Lima: Reyes en el Caos Editores, 1984)

Conversation with My Father in His Sick Bed

Maybe now death isn’t such a beautiful word.
Your black eyes watch me, cling, softly to a
strand of life, to the silence of your lips
on which I read my name pronounced with love and
an arrow of loneliness shot out into the world,
at this hour of the afternoon in which I find myself
alone with you knowing that the oxygen,
the IV, the needles piercing your sweet veins
are also the gathered days
in which we passed beneath the locusts across from
the Mercado Viejo, sun’s apple gilding
the beauty of your people / Piura
Six o’clock wind kiss Aníbal’s heart
like he kissed the warm earth, call it
to life, remember it to the girls
body-vessel of cool water, tell him that you
have pushed past all the hospital’s bonds
making love to the irascible nurses
and that now you are caressing his straight hair
although he can’t pay attention and sleeps overcome
by fever and diabetes / How will the night
have passed? In this final verse of the poem I
know that I leave the hospital and go to supplant the wind.