THIGHS UPON THE GRASS – a poem by Miguel Angel Zapata translated by Suzanne Jill Levine

cemen

I am writing because of the girl I saw jogging this morning in the cemetery, the one who floated against the dead. She ran and her body was a feather that swayed against death. Then I said in this kingdom sports were good not only for the heart’s delight but also for the orgasm of sight. Seeing her run in her little transparent shorts I concluded that cemeteries don’t have to be sad, and that the girl’s steady gallop gave the landscape another perspective; the sun took on a reddish hue, its vague light giving life to her skin, her golden hair shining upon the gravestones and again I thought that death was not the subject of tears but rather of joy when life continued vibrating with thighs upon the grass.

Los muslos sobre la grama

Escribo por la muchacha que vi correr esta mañana por el cementerio, la que trotaba ágilmente sobre los muertos. Ella corría y su cuerpo era una pluma de ave que se mecía contra la muerte. Entonces dije que en este reino el deporte no era bueno solo para la alegría del corazón sino también para el orgasmo de la vista. Al verla correr con sus pequeños shorts transparentes deduje que los cementerios no tenían por qué ser tristes, el galope acompasado de la chica daba otra perspectiva al paisaje: el sol adquiría un tono rojizo, su luz tenue se clavaba dando vida a la piel, los mausoleos brillaban con su cabellera de oro, y volví a pensar que la muerte no era un tema de lágrimas sino más bien de gozo cuando la vida continuaba vibrando con los muslos sobre la grama.

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

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