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Eye of Heaven

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On paunchy green hills
in some province of China, you are the one I speak to.
Someone buys a perfume, recalling
that the bones of his beloved are small.
When he writes the note, when he wraps
the little bottle, he takes that into account. So do I.

The subtlest trace of mind against your shoulders
is your true skin. And I press myself to you.
I hear the steady rhythm of your typing, the key
of a borrowed pulse. But what difference does it make, that it is given?
For a while it is mine to use, then your turn, but the pulse originates
in the Child of Heaven who has hearts to spare.

Some day you'll sink yourself into a frozen
lake where paper ships were torched with the
names of the missing. Some dead, some vanished.
The flames consume all but
the wisp of smoke on which a single word rises
and water licks at the rest. So we are freed from a weight.
Perennially your hills are filled with birds.
Green hills, the deep mosses around your temples.
They, the birds, are your faithful ones.
As I am, naturally.
Faithful to a world unknown,
a world for us alone, paper-thin, and too fragile to speak of.

Valerie Mejer, "Eye of Heaven" 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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Eye of Heaven

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  • 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. Wright, Forrest 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 This Blue Novel (2013); and Ante el Ojo de Cíclope (1999). Her book De Elefante a Elefante (1997) won the Spanish Government’s “Gerardo Diego 1966” International Award. Her etchings appear in Raúl Zurita's Los Boteros de la Noche (2010), and her paintings appear in Forrest Gander’s Ligaduras/Ligatures (2012) and in Antonio Prete’s Menhir (2007) and L’imperfection de la Lune (2007). Mejer is also the recipient of two CONACULTA grants as well as a grant from Sistema Estatal de Creadores for her translations of Australian poet Les Murray’s work.

    In September 2013, Mejer was a featured writer for...

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