MEABE, Miren Agur:
Her Shadow

(Translated by Brian Cole Š)

The ant (I)

On the motorway, towards Bilbao-Donostia, on the right,
the hospital,
a building with ten floors
with a blue logo on one side.
There I looked at death.

A leaf falls.
The ant does not understand the changed landscape,
it moves compulsively
just like a mechanical toy.

The 727 seat

He smiled sadly
because I said I would never forget the 727 seat.
It was adjustable, upholstered in grey plastic,
and from it I observed pain in all its details:
the bell to call the nurses,
the bottle of water on the table,
an artificial rose —
(It is forbidden to take into this unit flowers, plants
or any kind of vegetable species
because of the danger of causing allergies),
the fan, the spectacles, a picture,
cardboard wash-basins
—I remember stop-watches—,
swollen feet dragging along under a pink dressing-gown
pushing at the tube of serum, as if pushing at a cross.
In the evenings we held hands,
and I curled up in the seat.
So, at dawn too,
when I came back from the washroom
and at the end of the aisle nothing could be seen but a black window,
that chair was my refuge
to dilute fear in love
and to sort out my feelings.

Flat 514

They moved into another flat again.

Number 2 written in poor handwriting in the wardrobe.
Stains on the wallpaper.
A spider on the breast of the corpse.

And then her legs swelled up so much.
She did not move unless you forced her to.

Final question

We have a premonition of the clods of earth that would fall on the coffin.
She covered her eyes and moaned.
I asked her:
what can I do to save your skull.

At home

To die at home.
Take me home to die.

The cold

Frost spat in my eyes
at four in the morning.
The sheets were clean,
but HER lips are a puddle on the pillow.

I put on her stockings
Now she has warm feet.
I thought she smiled at me.

They tolled the bell.
Funeral rites.
I shall never again touch this body.

Mummification

Bring me the bandages and the lime,
balms and clay for the treatment.
Let us cover the body with salt.
We must first take out the entrails.
For this, let us make an incision in the side.
Bring a basin to catch the blood.

This woman is the lady of the rose and the thorn.
Let us prepare her as she deserves.

The ant (II)

My powers of knowing something from time to time:
a phone call,
a blurred image in a mirror,
something moving by telekinesis.

Every Sabbath I go up to the cemetery.
Good day —I say to him— it's me, the ant.
I have brought you flowers and words,
bits of glass,
handfuls of dust.

I rasp with sandpaper lichens the rain gave birth to.
I stretch out and caress names in marble.

The clouds absorb me,
the stones suck me in.
I see threads of blood on the grass.
On each side of the grave,
the Sun and the Moon
look at me.

The graveyard club

I meet B. in the graveyard.
She is my age, more or less.

I have been coming here for nine years,
every Sabbath —she explains—.
My little son died in his sleep.
A sudden death.
I had gone to work at the cannery.
My elder son, the seven year old, realised
that he could not wake him up to go to school.

Now it will pass

Never again joined in the cage of an embrace.

But all this will pass, assuredly.
Now I know that you are resting underground.

Your visit each night consumes my dreams.

A short visit

I dreamed she was come back from her trip.
I was sitting on the sofa and
my mother came back from the dead, luggage and all.
—I have come to see how things are with you.
I have been concerned about you. Are you sorting things out?

Seeing her with her luggage disconcerted me.
What class of travel was that!?
—But how come you're back!
Let's go, go on now —I scolded her.
But she could not make up her mind.
—I could see only you, as I always see you.
Take advantage of the opportunity —I encouraged her.

She thanked me,
she said she loved me.
She never came again.

Geography of silence

The geography of my silence is limited by
the fridge, the kitchen sink and the stove to the north;
the cupboard and street door to the east;
the lumber room to the west;
and the wall with a calendar of Basque landscapes to the south.

In the middle I grew, a tree reflected in a floor tile.
Under the tile an abyss stretched out,
An emptiness where overwinter the orphaned signs of the language.
They make a skein that evokes the whim of a painter.
If the wind tears at my hair,
a little root sprouts and climbs hungrily into my lap
for me to suckle it.

Silence of kitchens in the morning.
Geography of fertility.