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The Mirror’s Song

by Rafael Courtoisie
Translated from Spanish by
Anna Rosenwong
Issue 21 Online Exclusive

Think how I am not you, so that you won’t think about me.
Look the other way
look at the ocean, look inside.
Don’t look at me. Think how it’s not true
think how at the bottom there are rocks.
Think about the rocks: that’s a good thought, solid, stable.
About rocks that seem like wishes, about the rocks of time
that seem like years. Think about the years. Don’t look in the mirror.
This is not me. It’s your memory. It’s the melody,
the music of the image that looks like you. I’m not me.
You’re not you.
It’s not anyone.
Think about the ocean’s water, about its movement, about its weight.
Think about the water and not about me, think about the thought
that comes and goes, like a mirror.
But don’t think about the mirror, take a rock
and smash the mirror, think about the hard soul of rocks
about rocks: they do miss you
in their firmness, in their happy weight
mysterious, serious: about rocks.
If the mirror breaks I’m not me, you’re not you
it’s not anyone, it’s the force
of the memory that drowns in the mirror, in the dry
water of the mirror, the force without force, the light that goes out
the ruptured mirror and me, my innocence
that tells you:
think how I am not you, don’t think about me.

Rafael Courtoisie is one of Uruguay's leading writers and a major literary voice worldwide. The prolific author has won dozens of prizes, inlcuding Uruguay's national prizes in both narrative and poetry.
Anna Rosenwong’s translation of Rocío Ceron's Diorama won the Best Translated Book Award, and a collection of Jose Eugenio Sanchez's poems, Here the Sun's for Real, is forthcoming. She has received fellowships from the NEA, the Banff International Literary Translation Centre, and the American Literary Translators Association, and is the translation editor of Anomaly. Her work has been featured in such venues as World Literature TodayThe Kenyon Review, and Modern Poetry Today. More at