Thursday, February 16, 2006

A NARWHAL SLEEPS

Sergio Badilla Castillo

It gets dark before we say goodbye and a streetcar speeds by.
The vehicle’s haste slows the drunk’s stride
as he wavers on the pavement.
The wind pauses on the metallic back
of a dead dragonfly.
A single-tusked narwhal lies beached
on the cove’s gravel banks
it was light blue in the instant of the sulfurous cosmos, was sage in the mist
parched time-abandoned blue-eyed
behind some rocks, a last shelter from the squall
others crouch hidden in the sand behind white mound
Birches twist as the wind may thunder
or gusts rumble
weary the belly grows shuns hulking hunger
enormous appetite for disastrous food slows
misery among the miserable.
The fluorescent signs of the lit city
are farther than the firmament.
Lost in the singularity of infinity, astray.
There are no visible signs of planets, constellations, stars
Nevertheless, those from afar say a bright light burst open at sea
like some kind of radiant mushroom
like the hoary grass or the harshness of winter frost.
The blizzard rakes across the back of the whale
back near the dunes some people pass by
and night falling
in the cove where the swells foam
a single-horned narwhal sleeps.


(Translated by Deborah Moore)

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