In a tomb I build my house, and in the dark


In a tomb I build my house, and in the dark
I make my bed; I have made a pact
with my eyes, “The eyes of those who see me
will see me no more: your eyes
will be on me, and I
will cease to be.”

(To See)

The promise is usually
to condemn. Worship, fallen to the earth,
about my ripped cloak, shorn and naked
as I left my mother’s womb cloaked in blood
and crying; as I return
stumbling over the dark, groping
at midday.

Percussion of air, a stowaway
arrives – the guide
does not remember the morning
in which he found Tiresias abandoned
on the road – until the Soul
in the hearing.

Closed, from birth,
First Door
of comprehension, ache and light.

The vague sound articulated
without matter, existing
in the middle of time, enters

into the potency of the soul
that holds the past, this clear part
of the intelligible world, one
of the two unequal sections;

Your home and your echoes
for the rumor that is echo,
in each of the tempest’s breaths,
in each breathe of mine, your water
always changes, the river

It only persists in memory or on paper, persists
like the souls of my dead ones within my soul,
and that is enough.


Scar of embers surrounding
these basins,
where the saliva in your hand does not encounter
tears, is the spare word

O sancta simplicitas: John in flames,
bring logs back to my pyre;
because now I see the men, I see them like trees,
but they walk.

More sticks, more fire, more
light for these eyes.

Bring the hand once again
to the face of this stranger, Vexed
with God, again and again. Who could
stop the voices? Who would want
to stop them? Paroxysm of sound,
anxious, eager for spells, speeches,
words, more.

Man of Hus,
bring wood back to my pyre;
don’t bring weeds, which burn so quickly and smoke,
go and come back again, go once more,
because I see bodies, they look like tombs,
but they walk.

More sticks, more fire, more.

The demons form flames, tongues
of fire, tearing my skin with words
and the meat does not want cover any longer.

He who inflicts the wound is
he who tends to it; sore
from the sole of the foot
to the crown of my head, and a fang
to scratch (out) the scab, which is renewed. The air
sings of the flesh, the blood cools and I cannot
avoid the sticky ashes. I walk
without cease around the landfill.

(I don’t need a mirror to see
the prosecutor among my embers
of purging, and hear his voice
like an echo)

To stumble while roaming under
the seizure threshold, sweating,
and in the reflection of a column
polished by the mouths of pilgrims, I see
the one addicted to light.

By Juan Soros
translated, from the Spanish, by Ming Holden

Ming Holden is an international development worker and writer whose first book, a nonfiction work about a theater group she founded in Nairobi for refugee women called The Survival Girls, came out in 2013.

Juan Soros (1975-) is an industrial engineer and a Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic American literature at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. He has published the poetry volumes Tanatorio (2002), Cineraria (2005), and Tarsis (2010). He is the director of the Transatlántica/Portbou poetry collection.