Straight into the mirror
you pull off your shirt,
cover your hand with a white glove,
and with an easy looking motion,
touch your breast.

You feel what you already knew:
A rumble of Roman Colosseum,
lions, slaves,
and the guttural zeal of a crowd
commanding irascible teeth,
lacerated clothing,
          and open bloods.

At first you’re –admittedly– afraid.

But all of a sudden, you’re outraged to see
a hand so sheltered—
dishonest on such a filthy breast.
So you peel off the glove and fling it:
Now the rumble feels stronger.

It’s the emperor
that just appeared
on the Colosseum’s benches,
who with an easy looking motion
sits implacably on the pulpit.

By Pere Antoni Pons
translated, from the Catalan, by María Cristina Fernández Hall

María Cristina Fernández Hall is a Creative Writing student at Columbia University. Her work and translations have been published in New Poetry, Surgam, Fair Observer, and Apogee Journal, amongst others. She was editorial intern for Sterling Publishing and BOMB magazine.

Pere Antoni Pons (1980–) is a Majorcan novelist, poet and journalist. His published works include, among others, the poetry books El fibló i la festa (2003) and Fervor tan fosc (2006), and the novels La felicitat dels dies tristos (2010) and Tots els dimonis són aquí (2011).