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


I Have Been a Fortune Teller

translated by Tess O’Dwyer

I have been a fortune-teller. Ages ago, I told the fortune of buffoons and
madmen. You remember. I had a small voice like a grain of sand and
enormous hands. Madmen walked over my hands. I told them the truth. I
could never lie to them. And now I am sorry. Ages ago, a drunkard filled
with dreams asked me to dance. I used my cards to tell his fortune when
his drinks became blows. My banging on the door killed the sea. Memories
finished us. Madmen and buffoons count the grains of sand and have never
destroyed night’s dreams. They draw up the night and rise filled with
middays. Magicians were and always will be my companions. Without
guessing their tricks I started fire in their throats. But none explode. Maybe
one. And with the fish another chimera rises.

Credit


Giannina Braschi, Libro de payasos y bufones, El imperio de los sueños, 1988. Translation Tess O’Dwyer, Empire of Dreams, 1994.

Author


Giannina Braschi

Giannina Braschi was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is the author of numerous collections of poetry.

Date Published: 1988-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/i-have-been-fortune-teller