Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


1939

I

She knew how to seduce her destiny,
predict the time of flight
In 1939, dressed in garments
of night and happiness
at the threshold of a fearful
Hamburg Harbor
resolved to live,
she sailed 
to Southern seas.

In 1938, the windows
of her house of water and stone
resisted the extreme
horror of that night
of broken crystals.

She, my grandmother,
taught me to recognize
the landscape of danger,
the shards of fear,
the impenetrable faces
of women,
fleeing,
accused,
audacious in their will to live.

II

Helena Broder,
created a domain
of papers, fragile vessels,
clandestine poems and
notes to be made,
discreet addresses.
With little baggage,
like a frail and ancient
angel,
she arrived,
although ready to embark again.

I survived next to her
and I was thankful for the gift of her presence.

Credit


From At the Threshold of Memory by Marjorie Algosín, translated by Cola Franzen and Monica Bruno Galmozzi. Translation copyright © 2003 by Cola Franzen and Monica Bruno Galmozzi. Reprinted by permission of White Pine Press. All rights reserved.

Author


Marjorie Agosín

Marjorie Agosín is the author of numerous poetry collections, including At the Threshold of Memory: New & Selected Poems (White Pine Press, 2003) and Toward the Splendid City (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 1994), winner of the 1995 Latino Literature Prize. She lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Date Published: 2003-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/1939