Across the flat
violet face of the river,
three black ships
depart toward the horizon.
I can’t see them moving,
but with every second
they grow smaller.
Is the river
a pale blue dream?
The jungle of houses
a dream in gold?
An invisible hand
pushes the ships
to unknown piers.
Are they leaving
the shore
in silence?
Their plumes of smoke
trace signals
on the blue backdrop
far beyond.
But the breeze
dishevels and dissolves them
and the message
is illegible.

Alfonsina Storni, translated by Nicholas Friedman.


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 36 Number 7, on page 26
Copyright © 2019 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
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