THE COLOR OF NIGHTFALL – a poem by Eduardo Chirinos translated by Gary J. Racz

Sinclair1

Orange nightfall
————-with its fraying clouds
and sun illuminating every word.
A gas station’s logo features a dinosaur
(there used to be dinosaurs here)
and an endless plain.
Where did I learn all this?
Let’s put aside the clouds for now—they’re always
the same. Let’s put aside the sun, too,
easy prey for every metaphor.
That leaves us with the orange.
Some say the orange came from India
where it was food for the gods
and others that it came from Persia or Arabia
along with its name and color.
Virgil called it aurea mala
and dropped one into an eclogue.
Holding the fruit in his hands, Columbus
discovered that the world was round
and that by traveling west
he would (like the sun) reach the east.
Now we are alone, the orange and I.
It has taken centuries to say “orange nightfall.”

EL COLOR DE LOS ATARDECERES

Atardecer naranja
—————con sus nubes raídas
y su sol que alumbra todas las palabras.
Una gasolinera exhibe un dinosaurio
(aquí hubo dinosaurios)
y una pradera inacabable.
¿Dónde aprendí todo eso?
Descartemos las nubes, son siempre
las mismas. Descartemos el sol,
presa fácil de todas las metáforas.
Nos queda la naranja.
Algunos dicen que vino de la India
donde era alimento de los dioses.
Otros, que vino de Persia o de Arabia
igual que el nombre y su color.
Virgilio la llamó “aurea mala”
y la dejó caer en una égloga.
Colón la tuvo entre sus dedos. Por ella
descubrió que el mundo era redondo
y que viajando hacia el Poniente
llegaría (como el sol) hacia el Levante.
Ahora estamos solos. Yo y la naranja.
Cuesta siglos decir atardecer naranja.

From ASYMMETRIES, Anthology of Peruvian Poetry (Cardboard House Press, 2014).

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