for roberto and adelaida
Once in a while joy throws little stones at my window it wants to let me know that it's waiting for me but today I'm calm I'd almost say even-tempered I'm going to keep anxiety locked up and then lie flat on my back which is an elegant and comfortable position for receiving and believing news who knows where I'll be next or when my story will be taken into account who knows what advice I still might come up with and what easy way out I'll take not to follow it don't worry, I won't gamble with an eviction I won't tattoo remembering with forgetting there are many things left to say and suppress and many grapes left to fill our mouths don't worry, I'm convinced joy doesn't need to throw any more little stones I'm coming I'm coming.
From Little Stones at My Window by Mario Benedetti. Edited and translated by Charles Hatfield. Copyright © 2003 by Curbstone Press. Distributed by Consortium. Used by permission of Curbstone Press. All rights reserved.
Abortions will not let you forget.
You remember the children you got that you did not get,
The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,
The singers and workers that never handled the air.
You will never neglect or beat
Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.
You will never wind up the sucking-thumb
Or scuttle off ghosts that come.
You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,
Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.
I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children.
I have contracted. I have eased
My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.
I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized
And your lives from your unfinished reach,
If I stole your births and your names,
Your straight baby tears and your games,
Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches, and your deaths,
If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,
Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.
Though why should I whine,
Whine that the crime was other than mine?—
Since anyhow you are dead.
Or rather, or instead,
You were never made.
But that too, I am afraid,
Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?
You were born, you had body, you died.
It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.
Believe me, I loved you all.
Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you
From A Street in Bronzeville by Gwendolyn Brooks, published by Harper & Brothers. © 1945 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Used with permission. All rights reserved.