Ned Condini

(after Federico Garcia Lorca)

When I feel lonely
your ten years still remain with me,
the three blind horses,
your countless expressions and the little
frozen fevers under maize leaves.
My son, at midnight
cancer strode out into the halls
and spoke with the empty shells of documents,
live cancer full of clouds and thermometers,
with its chaste desire of an apple
to be pecked by nightingales.
In the house where thereís no cancer
white walls break in the frenzy of astronomy
and in the smallest stables, in the crosses of woods,
for many years the fulgor
of the burnings glows.

My sorrow bled in the evenings
when your eyes were two stones,
when your hands were two townships
and my body the whisper of grass.
My agony was looking for its dress.
It was dusty, bitten by bugs,
and you followed it without trembling
to the threshold of dark water.
My son, silly and handsome
among the gentle creatures,
with your mother fractured by the village blacksmiths,
with one brother under the arches
and another eaten by anthills,
and cancer beating at the doors!
Some nannies give children
milk of nastiness, and itís true
that some people will throw doves into a sewer.

Your ignorance, my son,
is a river of lions.
The day cancer clobbered you
and spat you in the dorm
where the guests of the epidemic died,
you looked for my agony in the grass,
my agony with flowers of terror,
while the voiceless fierce cancer
that wants to sleep with you
pulverized red landscapes in the sheets of bitterness
and put inside hearses
tiny frozen trees of boric acid.

My son, with your jewís harps,
go to the wood to learn antennae words
that sleep in tree trunks, in clouds, in turtles,
in the wind, in lilies, in deep waters,
so that your learn, my son, what your country forgets.

When the roar of war begins
I will leave a piece of cheese for your dog
at the factory. Your ten years will be
the leaves that fly in the clothes of the dead,
ten roses of frail sulphur
on the shoulder of the dawn.
Forgotten, your wilted face
pressed to my mouth, my son,
I will be alone and enter,
screaming, the green statues of cancer.

Ned Condini is a translator and a poetry and fiction writer. His work has appeared in Modern Review (Columbia University), Praire Schooner and The Mississippi Review, among others. Chelsea Editions will soon publish his translation of Carlo Betocchi's selected works, Awakenings.