Tonight I get down from my horse
by the front door of the house, where
I waved goodbye as the rooster crowed.
It's locked and no one answers.
The bench where Mama showed
my older brother how to saddle
backs I'd ridden bare
along the roads and fields, village kid;
the bench where I left , to yellow in the sun,
my painful childhood... and that pain
that frames the doorway?
A deity in the strange peace,
the beast, as though calling too, sneezes
and sniffs, stamping the paving-stone. Then, doubtful,
with a lively shake of his ears.
Papa must be praying late, and perhaps
he'll think it's I who've kept him up.
My sisters, buzzing with their fantasies,
simple and bubbling over
with plans for the party coming soon,
and now almost nothing is missing.
I wait, I wait, my heart
an egg about to hatch, past its time.
Numerous family we left
not long ago, now no one keeps watch, not even a candle
set in the niche for our safe return.
I call again, and nothing.
We fall silent and begin to sob, and the animal
whinnies, whinnies again.
They're all sleeping forever,
and so much the better, since finally
my horse begins to nod from drowsiness
in his turn and between naps at every bobbing says
that it's all right, everything's quite all right.
Translated by Sandy McKinney