[from Marosa di Giorgio's Los Papeles salvajes, 1991]
the day of my birth, I knew you,
at a distance you seemed my grandmother, nearby, the cabinet
she ransacked for syrup & cups.
Down from you dropped thieves;
Melchor, Gaspar & Baltasar;
down dropped shepherds & cats;
the shepherds, amorous as cats,
the cats, serious as men, with mustaches & Valentino eyes.
Black slave nurturing small animals, immobile, nacreous.
Virgin Mary in black veil,
in white veil, there on the patio.
You were grandmother, mother, you were Marosa, you were everyone,
your eternal youth, eternal age,
Communion child, bride child,
From you they pulled stars for cups,
cups for stars.
Destiny’s book hid in your branches.
You have stayed away, you have traveled far.
But I am returning to you,
advancing toward you.
I will see you in heaven.
Eternity cannot be without you.