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Eye of Heaven

by Valerie Mejer Caso
Translated from Spanish by
Forrest Gander
Issue 14 Online Exclusive

On paunchy green hills
in some province of China, I speak to you.
Someone buys a perfume. recalling
that his lover’s bones are small.
When he writes
the note, when he wraps
the little bottle. he takes that into account.
So do I.

The subtlest trace of
intelligence clinging to your shoulders is your true skin.
And I press myself to you.
I hear the steady rhythm of your typing, the key
of a borrowed pulse But it makes no difference, that it was borrowed!
For a while it’s mine to use.
then lour turn but the pulse originates
in the Child of Heaven who has hearts to spare.

Some day you’ll sink yourself into a frozen
lake where paper ships were torched with the
names of the missing Some dead some vanished
The flames consume all but
the wisp of smoke on which a single word rises
and water licks at the rest. So we arc freed from a weight
Perennially your hills are filled with birds
Green hills, the deep mosses around yous temples
They. the birds. arc in your flock.
As I am, naturally.
Faithful to a world unknown
a world for us alone paper-thin, and too fragile to speak of.

Valerie Mejer Caso is a Mexican poet, painter, and translator. Her books in English translation are Rain of the Future and This Blue Novel. She has been the recipient of the Gerardo Diego International Poetry Award (Spain). Her unfolded book "Untamable Light" was recently part of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
Forrest Gander was born in the Mojave Desert and grew up, for the most part, in Virginia. Trenchant periods of his life were spent in San Francisco, Dolores Hidalgo (Mexico), and Eureka Springs, Arkansas. With degrees in both geology and English literature, Gander is the author of numerous books of poetry, translation, fiction, and essays. He’s the A.K. Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University. A U.S. Artists Rockefeller fellow, Gander has been recipient of grants from the NEA, the Guggenheim, Howard, Witter Bynner and Whiting foundations. His 2011 collection Core Samples from the World was an NBCC and Pulitzer Prize finalist for poetry, and his 2018 collection Be With won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and was longlisted for the National Book Award.