Stephen Massimilla Through Me

-After Neruda

Rise up to be reborn with me, my brother,

here at the heights of Macchu Picchu.

Give me your hand out of the most profound

reaches of your wide-sown sorrow.

You will not return from the rocky bottom.

You will not return from subterranean time,

You will not return with your hardened voice.

You will not return with your deep-drilled eyes.

Look at me from the depths of the earth,

farm laborer, weaver, silent shepherd,

keeper of the tutelary guanacos,

mason of the faithless scaffold,

water-carrier of Andean tears,

lapidary with well-worn fingers,

farmer trembling over the seed,

potter fallen into your own clay,

bring your ancient buried sorrows

to the cup of this new life.

Show me your blood and your furrow;

tell me: Here I was whipped

because the gem didn’t sparkle or the earth

didn’t yield the stone or the grain on time.

Point out to me the rock on which you fell

and the wood on which they crucified you;

spark up the old flints for me,

the old lamps, the whip-lashes stuck

to your wounds across the centuries,

and the axes with their glitter of brilliant blood.

I come to speak for your dead mouth.

Across the earth, unite

all the silent wasted lips, and from the depths

speak to me this whole night long

as if I were anchored here with you.

Tell me everything chain by chain

link by link and step by step,

sharpen the knives you kept below,

lay them on my chest and in my hand

like a river of flashing yellow rapids,

like a river of buried jaguars,

and let me weep: hours, days, years,

blind ages, stellar centuries.

Grant me silence, water, hope.

Grant me struggle, iron, volcanoes.

Cling to me with your bodies, like magnets.

Hasten to my veins and to my mouth.

Speak through my words and my blood.

Back to 51.1