NUDE IN CLAY
Like horrible amphibians into the atmosphere,
lugubrious grimaces rise to the lip.
Through the blue Sahara of Substance
journeys a grey verse, a dromedary.
A grimace of cruel dreams phosphoresces.
And the blind man who died full of the voices
of snow. And to rise early, poet, nomad,
to the cruelest day of being human.
The Hours go by, feverish, and in the corners
blond centuries of luck abort.
Who draws out so much thread; who mercilessly
lowers our nerves, cords
already frayed, to the tomb?
Love! And you, too. Black stonings
are engendered in your mask and break it.
Even the tomb is
the sex of a woman that attracts man!
César Vallejo, 1918
Translated by Rebecca Seiferle