a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Heavenly Queen of all creation,
that she give me the pure light of little animals
that have a single letter in their vocabulary.
Little animals without souls. Simple forms,
far from the cat’s despicable wisdom,
far from the owls’ fictitious profundity,
far from the horse’s sculptural knowledge.
Creatures that love without eyes,
with a single sense of undulating infinity,
and that gather in great heaps
to be eaten by birds.
I pray for the single dimension
that the little flat animals have
to tell of things covered with earth
under the shoe’s hard innocence.
There’s no one who cries because he understands
the million tiny deaths that the market holds—
that china crowd of decapitated onions
and that great yellow sun of old crushed fish.
You, Mother, always terrifying, whale of all skies;
you, Mother always joking, neighbor of borrowed parsley:
you know that I must understand the slightest flesh of the world
to be able to speak of the world.
—translated by Rebecca Seiferle
Rebecca Seiferle is the author of four poetry collections. Her most recent collection Wild Tongue (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) won the 2008 Grub Street National Poetry Prize. In 2004 she was awarded the Lannan Literary Fellowship for poetry. She has published two book length translations of César Vallejo: Trilce (Sheep Meadow Press, 1992) and The Black Heralds (Copper Canyon, 2003). Her translations are also included in The Whole Island: Six Decades of Cuban Poetry (University of California Press, 2009) and Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry (Copper Canyon, 2001). She was Tucson Poet Laureate from 2012-16.