Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Poetry Wednesday: Translator’s Confession, 3 a.m.

Translator’s Confession, 3 a.m.

Dear C, I dropped

your sentence in hot water.

I talked to the boil. I said Here

is my thumb for you to burn.

Here is the soft heart

of my hand and my arm and

the nape of my wreck.

I said vapor, just take me.

I’m done burning

with these pages. Being invisible

doesn’t mean a person

won’t blister, doesn’t mean

the blisters won’t fill

with pockets of water

or when lanced the rawest flesh

won’t emerge. First the word

then the murky leak

begins—what another mind

may scrape against

but never skin.

By Idra Novey


About this Poem: 

“I wrote this poem as a way to settle some unfinished business I had with Clarice Lispector, a Brazilian writer whose work I’d been reading intensely for nearly a decade and whose novel I’d recently translated. As is the nature of unfinished business, once I wrote one letter to her, I needed to write another, and on it went for some time.”

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