Cecilia Pavón

Facing North

An entire life buried in the heat of
coming back and finding a being that lives,
breathes, waits for me, is my other half.
When the birds were eating from my hand and
I could feel that they were of flesh,
with blood beating through their bewitched
And I didn’t care about the cold weather because
the mornings were hot, and it felt like we were
living in the nineteenth century, in the emptiness, in the humidity.
Because of the kisses everyone else gave
each other, and the rapes, which were
games. Not real, not martyrs.

We lived in a horrid building, but I
didn’t see its ugliness, because it was
surrounded by greenery, and it was lived in.

The tropics were a dream, an amulet.
Any body a blessing, the
emotions rays that like lizard
tongues brought together the surfaces of stigmata.

I thanked the heavens for a window, I drank
that which purifies like a gift: The pole,
falling, and dismantled. The wind
erasing the shapes.

I washed myself with bleach. I never got around
to washing the sheets, I wanted them to be white
too so I could dream that life was a
dream. I robbed an elderly woman, to put dinner
on the table. That night, in my head I
composed odes to beauty and I wanted
to throw myself into the lake of fever. At the
party there was a party and you could hear screams,
a party of whales, with wreathes
on the door. And the two of us, beyond
mute, were opening holes in another wall.

But love arrived and we rented a car
to travel to the Magic Kingdom.
I named the desert and the palm trees
Mickey Mouse. But the warning for
deadly hurricanes went off, and I left
to take cover somewhere where there weren’t
any sirens. To the hotel, to seclusion, to
transmutation in voyage.

Writing the prayer for chaos down
on a piece of paper: If I die, let them bury me
alive, and they shall give him the portion
of my heart, but they shouldn’t revive me.

It’s just a lie, all that we see.
And details.
Sometimes I freeze,
or imagine everything that happens inside
my body as caverns.
Or the encounters are enchantments
and the apparitions virgins or
detachment of the flesh
of others.
I never got to see an animal, so I don’t know.

It’s asphyxiation, it’s the flicker
of hope that faith will come.

About the AuthorCecilia Pavón was born in Mendoza, Argentina, in 1973. She has lived in Buenos Aires since 1992. She holds a B.A. in Literature from the University of Buenos Aires. In 2012, she published her collected poetry in Un hotel con mi nombre (A Hotel With My Name). Her other publications include 27 poemas con nombres de persona (2010), the ebook Once Sur (2012), and the short-story collection Los sueños no tienen copyright (2010). She has two forthcoming translations into English to be published in 2015: Belleza y Felicidad (Sand Paper Press) and A Hotel With my Name (Scrambler Books).

About the TranslatorJacob Steinberg was born in Stony Brook, New York, in 1989. He has published the full-length poetry collections Magulladón (2012), Ante ti se arrodilla mi silencio (2013), and Before You Kneels My Silence (2014). As a translator he has worked with Cecilia Pavón, CAConrad, and Mario Bellatin, among others. He currently resides in New York.

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