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        FACE

Not a day of the year,
not an afternoon nor an hour
can we dedicate to you.

Work comes first
(cutting cane, harvesting
potatoes and tomatoes)
besides which we don’t believe in you,
not even as a symbol,
history, or relic.

As for the children
they go on studying, playing, working.
They have nothing to do with you;
their salvation is in other hands
that won’t let themselves
be nailed to a cross
but would rather
take up arms or tools.

The empty sky is brilliant.
The palms don’t recall the olive trees.
No vestige remains, not a hint
of that wood upon
which you were crucified.

Man and nature are absorbed
in their reciprocal
relations of production, effort, enjoyment.

There is nothing to repent of.

                                (A visit
to the hospitals in this blinding
noon would be like,
when touring a factory,
glancing at the slag heap—)
It doesn’t matter that
a small group may see something.
                                Tomorrow,
not even a mark
in the dust will remain of them.

autógrafo

Cintio Vitier
Translation by Kathleen Weaver


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