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Being Here

by Alejandra Pizarnik
Translated from Spanish by
Adam Giannelli
Issue 18 Online Exclusive

You keep watch from this room
where the menacing shadow is your own.

There’s no silence here
only phrases you avoid hearing.

Signs on the walls
tell of the beautiful faraway.

(Don’t let me die
without seeing you again.)

Alejandra Pizarnik (1936–72) is among the most important Latin American poets of the twentieth century. Born in Argentina to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Pizarnik studied literature and painting at the University of Buenos Aires, then moved to Paris, developing close ties with Julio Cortázar and Octavio Paz.
Translator
Adam Giannelli is the editor of High Lonesome: On the Poetry of Charles Wright (Oberlin, 2006). His translations have appeared in Field, Hanging Loose, Beloit Poetry Journal, Mantis, and elsewhere. For more information, visit adamgiannelli.com.