BLACK STONE ON A WHITE STONE
I shall die in Paris in heavy rain
the day is entered in my brain
I shall die in Paris — and that's a promise —
maybe some Thursday, like this one, in autumn.
Thursday, for sure, this Thursday when I churn
these verses, I've placed my arms
with bad grace and never as today have I turned
with my whole load, to see myself alone.
Cesar Vallejo is dead, they nailed him down
everyone did, though he did nothing
they hit him heavy with sticks and heavy
with a rope; for witnesses are
the Thursdays, these armbones,
the aloneness, the rain, the road...
Translation by Ed Dorn and Gordon Brotherston