I Like It When You’re Still (from Veinte Poemas de Amor)
I like it when you’re still: it’s as though you aren’t there
and my voice can only reach you across an abyss.
It seems as though your eyelids have leapt into the air.
It seems as though your mouth has been sealed shut with a kiss.
Because all these things now are tinged with my soul,
you emerge from all things, now a soul of my own.
Butterfly of my dreams, you even seem like my soul.
You come, melancholy as the word, “Alone.”
I like it when you’re still: it’s as though you’re far away
and your moaning through the space is like a butterfly’s coo.
You hear me from a distance, though my voice has gone astray.
Now calm me in the silence that belongs only to you.
Let me rest in the stillness that is pure conversation.
Like a ring, it is perfect; like a light, it is clear.
For you are like the night, with its hushed constellations.
Your silence is star-like: remote, yet sincere.
I like it when you’re still: it’s as though you were gone.
I feel pain and separation, as if you had died.
And then you speak or smile, and my hope lives on.
And I thrill that, somehow, you are still by my side.
Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2015