César Vallejo: “Paris, October 1936”

Paris, October 1936

From all of this, I’m the one who must leave.
I must leave this bench, this pair of pants,
my great story, the work of my hands,
my number, broken and cleaved.
From all of this, I’m the one who must leave.

From the Champs Elysées to the alleyway
where the moon at night is strangely led,
my own death, too, goes up from my bed,
and surrounded by people, yet alone, astray,
this human resemblance turns its head,
and, one by one, orders its shadows away.

And I leave them all, these things that assert
nothing but an alibi or self-defense:
my shoe with its eyelet flecked with dirt,
and the wrinkled crease where my elbow bends
on the arm of my stiffly buttoned shirt.

— César Vallejo

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2013
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