I OBSERVED the acidic moisture and the living ulcers

and the bones of her face like fruits of shadow.

I saw light in her hands, light

in the cartilage and the veins. Later,

the vertebrae went down and already

I saw no more than eternity and coldness

blind and blue in the fixed gaze.

Author Image

Antonio Gamoneda (born 1931, Oviedo, Spain) is the recipient of Spain’s Cervantes Prize (2006) among other honors. His poems draw upon memories that originate in the Spanish Civil War and have now been translated into thirteen languages. Description of the Lie, translated by Donald Wellman, has just been released by Talisman House. Wellman’s translation of Gamoneda’s Gravestones is available from the University of New Orleans Press. The poem “I OBSERVED the acidic moisture” is from Losses Burn / Arden las Perdidas.

Donald Wellman is a poet and translator. Recent volumes of poetry include The Cranberry Island Series (2012) and A North Atlantic Wall (2010), both from Dos Madres. From 1981 to 1994, he edited the OARS series of anthologies. In addition to the poetry of Antonio Gamoneda, he has translated the poetry of Emilio Prados, Blaise Cendrars, and Yvan Goll.

Feature image by Jenni Hiltunen, Scream, 2013. Courtesy the artist