[Creative translations of Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems, by Yesenia Padilla.]
[Your] silence is now where I see my own face,
but other faces, [some] [from] another time,
[live] [there] [too], dripping [into] [your] [breath].
[They] [are] [sparks] [in] [the] [ether].
[The] [breath] [is] [a] [useful] [metaphor] [for] Loss of Whatever –
an antique watch, a letter, a fever, a key,
[Measure] [a] [length] [of] [existence]
[i] [n] [h] [a] [l] [e]
[e] [x] [h] [a] [l] [e].
[Now] hold your [breath].
[Grief] [is] [the] [pain] [in] [resisting] [the]
[involuntary] [pull] [and] [push] [of] [life],
[grief] [is] [the] [pressure] [of] [holding] [on],
[between] [the] [ears];
[you] [have] [to] [let] [it] [go] [sometime].
Also, [to] [some] [the] [breath] [is] [sacred].
[the] [muscle] [makes] [the] [breath]
[and] [the] [bones] [make] [it] [count];
[they] deserve your recognition.
On this side, I [do] [not] fear the silence,
I hope for a gentle [understanding]
to show me what I can do to make
this nameless [feeling] nameable for others,
The dog, quiet and innocent, plots.
They know what they know,
[and] [what] [that] [is]
[I] [do] [not] [know].
Each peak is [not] a crater, [only] [sometimes], [okay]?
This law of [fucking] volcanoes makes them visible, and ladies forever, but no flame core,
But if lava [floes] flow into a hardening
[is] [that] [not] [a] [cock]?
[I] [CALL] [BULLSHIT]!
[Stop] [saying] [You]
want to travel
to the holy mountain of all.
[I] [know] [what] [you] [mean], [okay].
[landforms] [don’t] [need] [your] [genitals] [to] [be] [majestic].
[I] feel the burn in my arteries
[when] [you] [talk] [your] [turf-shit]
[and] [make] [implicit] [conspirators]
All, “we, us” –
No-name is unknown
[for] [a] [reason].
[Yeah], [I’ve] [figured] [it] [out].
Beyond clinging to the rocks,
and [more] beyond,
beyond the United States,
[and] [even] [more] [beyond]
[beyond] [the] [air] [and]
[more] [beyond] [the] [planets]
[it’s] [all] [a] [white-hot] [streak]
Yesenia Padilla is a founding editor of Lumen Magazine, a literary magazine founded for and by women and non-binary people. Her work has appeared on Millennial Garbage, and she has performed her work at the monthly reading series Now That’s What I Call Poetry. Yesenia lives in San Diego, and her Calibabe Sensibilities leave her teeth chattering at anything below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.