The Wound Before the Tomb of Walt Whitman
Translated by Carolyn Forché
You who saw the vast oceans
and the peaks of the mountains,
who communed with all the sailors of the world
and you who saw Christ eat the bread of his last supper among the young
and the elders,
you who saw the executioner of Europe
with his ax soaked with blood,
You stepped on the scaffold
and the fields in which mothers cried to their dead children.
Tell me if it is still
possible to announce triumphant justice
and deliver the lessons of the new world.
I’m going to kiss your lips,
they are cold and taste like the word America.
Copyright © 2019 by Fernando Valverde. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 24, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.