Death is emptying us out with the flat teaspoon

of minutes, bit by bit, without being excessively

voracious. Sometimes it opens the fridge and contemplates us

in the chilled, bluish light, like someone who gets up

at midnight, half-wanting something, without really knowing what.

In the street, someone is lowering the restaurant blinds

with a useless gesture. Seated between empty tables and chairs,

death reviews the menu for the umpteenth time,

repeats our names between its teeth,

unraveling them, as if scouring for

morsels of meat hidden in the cartilage

of this bird without lessening who we are.

Every morning we pack our bags and take flight

with the first swallows,

but the mouth that devours us

ends up being larger

than the parabola

of our flight.

Photo collage: Ansellia Kulikku.

Gemma Gorga

Gemma Gorga was born in Barcelona in 1968, where she is a professor of Medieval and Renaissance Spanish literature. She has published six collections of poetry: Ocellania (Birdology, Barcelona, 1997); El desordre de les mans (The Hands' Disorder, Lleida, 2003); Instruments òptics (Optical Instruments, València, 2005); Llibre dels minuts (Book of Minutes, Barcelona, 2006), which won the Premi Miquel de Palol (2006); Diafragma (Diaphragm, Girona, 2012); and Mur (Wall, Barcelona, 2015), which won the Premi de la Critica de Poesia Catalana. Book of Minutes, translated by Sharon Dolin, is forthcoming in The Field Translation Series/Oberlin College Press in Spring 2019.

Sharon Dolin

Sharon Dolin is the author of six poetry collections: Manual for Living (2016) and Whirlwind (2012), both from the University of Pittsburgh Press; Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, 2015 reissue); Burn and Dodge (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry; Realm of the Possible (Four Way Books, 2004); and Heart Work (Sheep Meadow Press, 1995). She received a 2016 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant for her translation from of Gemma Gorga’s Book of Minutes. “The Meal” is from her work-in-progress, a Selected Poems of Gemma Gorga. She lives in New York City and directs Writing About Art in Barcelona each June.