José Ángel Valente: “Three Prose Poems”

Three Prose Poems


The woman’s thighs were long and moist.  The fine hair glistened, golden in the sun.  Endless bottomless depths of skin.  And when she laughed, it was as though her laugh shook her sex free, unleashing flocks of birds into the air.  They ascended, I told myself, like so many other things of the natural world.


We have no time to remember, like those who came before us — the cloth screens, the summer freshness of a decorated photograph, the boy with the long, fake wave of hair across his forehead — not the way they could remember, those who came before us, in their large painted cardboard boats, their striped swimsuits, which were photographed in due course, not like us, who barely have space or place to turn our heads to face the end like pillars of salt, and yet we follow behind them, somehow, somewhere, vaguely, without any precise memory.


In the late afternoon, the invisible hand of a god erases you like the wing of a bird fallen into shadows beyond the shadows.  You stand dissolved, at last, within your own gaze.

José Ángel Valente

Translated from Spanish by Paul Weinfield, © 2015
Photo by Irma Haselberger

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