from the wave, the way

By Valerie Mejer Caso Valerie Mejer Caso

Translated By Forrest Gander

In green water I saw your eye and in it I saw that Arabian palace
filled with birds and broken glass.
                                                                  I copy an address into my right hand
and fill myself with memories of psalms.
A green fish emerges from seaweed as seaweed from a wave
                                                                  that rises like the wailing wall.

My sun-baked body at the edge,
wind in my lungs, its whistle,
my torn world, my grief,
my soggy passport, my shell with no pearl,
you lift them, delicate cloud, into a liquid world.

Last night I dreamed of my father's flabby body and of my blue
resolve to run away, to find a way, I dreamed of your eye
                                                            and for an instant I found the vertex of the road,
the imaginary line that falls across the earth:
               that meridian where the sun on a tiger's back meets the shade at its belly.

Waking up, we are swallowed by wakefulness.
The house swallows us in its terrible thirst. The routine of taking our children
to school swallows us
                                                   and so does the if only I could.

There was something to that dream. You know it. A direction. A way.
                                                                   A forest as green as you and your roots.

Give me your premonitions, give me your book, give me your prodigious memory,
give me the blue gaze from your dark eye, give me the devotion of your sleeping birds.

Sometimes the way is a fire
through which the circus tiger
                                                           leaps, a perfect circle
                                                                           returning to me with its stripes intact
and with the endless continuity of this ineluctably feral world.

Valerie Mejer, "from the wave, the way" from Rain of the Future. Translated by Forrest Gander. Copyright © 2013 by Valerie Mejer.  Reprinted by permission of Valerie Mejer.

Source: Rain of the Future (Action Books, 2013)

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Poet Valerie Mejer Caso


Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, The Mind, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Nature, Life Choices


Painter and poet Valerie Mejer was born in Mexico City. Her poems explore containment and fragility, layering loss and possibility over a once-familiar landscape. She is the author of the poetry collections Rain of the Future (2013), translated by C.D. WrightForrest Gander, and Alexandra Zelman; de la ola, el atajo (2009); Geografías de Niebla (2008); Esta Novela Azul (2004), which was translated by Michelle Gil-Montero as . . .

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Poems by Valerie Mejer Caso

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, The Mind, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Nature, Life Choices


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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