I saw the face of my mother again.
It was a night that seemed to have severed
night from sleep.
The night drew on or halted,
a cutting knife or a hurricane gust,
but the dream didn’t head for its night.
I felt as if everything weighed upward,
you spoke there, almost murmuring,
in the ear of some tiny crab,
alright, I know this because I saw her smile
that wanted to approach to offer me
the little creature,
to watch its amusing crawl
or to plunge it in hot flour.
The ripe corncob like a baby tooth,
in a drawer teeming with silver-plated ants.
The simile of the drawer like a snake,
the size of an arm, a snake rendering slivers
out of the folded length of its tongue, the one
where old watches are kept, the hilarious
frightful talking drawer.
Groping along the door frame,
to begin to feel, covering my eyes,
though eventually motionless,
that what remained was heavier,
with the lightness of what the rain weighs
or the harp’s venetian blinds.
The courtyard was attended
by the entire moon, along with the other invited meteors.
The itinerary of their habit was auspicious and magical.
I watched the door,
but the rest of her body remained subtracted,
like someone who begins to speak,
who laughs again
but who, lingering between the door
and whatever else remains,
seems to have left and then returns.
What’s left is God maybe,
minus myself maybe,
maybe the solar scraping
within which, astride, maybe the self.
At my side, the other body
breathing with eyes
adhered to the rock of this spherical emptiness.
It all began to vanish
into a whirling metal with borders
assaulted by the brevity of flames,
into the steam rising from a tiny
cup of morning coffee,
into locks of hair.
Used with the permission of the University of California Press, from Selections: José Lezama Lima, edited by Ernesto Livon-Grosman, 2005; permission conveyed through Copyright Clearance Center, Inc.