Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mirta Rosenberg / Portrait Ended

Paco Dalmau

By Mirta Rosenberg
Translated by Julie Ward

It is a way of saying
I want to be left without words,
to lose without comment.

How long am I going to talk
about what no longer is.

About her, who no longer is
seeing me write about her.
And with those eyes!

I too open them at night
and look at the silence
in the dark
where the portrait ends
without her getting to see it

and I think
and I think
and I think

about things like you
that appear to have
no date of expiration,

about your wanting to get home:
with the key prepared,
clinging to the taxi door,
letting yourself fall through your door
almost with the unsteady will
of an autumn leaf,

this kind of expiration,

and these eyes to golden tending
the ones you said in descriptions
were green. To look
at every occasion with kindly eyes
that no longer look at me,
though I remember them.

And now
I want to be left
without words. To know how to lose
what is being lost.

Or so it seems.

It seems that we both
are of a mother bereft:
me without you
you without her,

and on and on it goes,
like links that are lost
and found for a while
with our parents,

but this is another story
that is better told
in the wedding photo
for which words
I never had,

as though it were a foretaste
of my own expiration.

Speaking of parents you said
your father had green eyes,
like you, your grandson Juan,
and nobody had them wholly
though they deserved to have them:
your way
of embellishing the portrait
was your way of seeing it.

Of her you said, however,
after her death, no I wasn’t the same,
and that perhaps would be your way
of not letting the portrait be ended.

The word no.

I too say so.

Although it might also be called an occasion
that is somewhat vulgar: in general,
all of us are left without her,
and this absence of light seems
to give rest to the eyes
without draining them. It livens them,

or turns them back to the dark,
which is where the portrait ends.

My father said of his:
I was born with her and now
I am going to have to die
alone. And then
he did.

My teacher said of his:
I spent all my life to have
the handwriting of my mum. And then
he had it.

It was perfect pain:
speaking of her,
they spoke of themselves.

Or so it seems.

It seems that to lose
is not a difficult art:
one’s truly dead
are beloved victims of the living.

 Of what every one of them said.

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