The Problem with Neruda

By Beth McIlvaine

Is that I know enough Spanish
to know that I am missing something
and not enough to know what it is.
All poetry is translation and compromise.
You know that her hair didn’t twist
like a small bird’s song,
it only triggered some syntax
some childhood memory
that shows itself in dreams.
In the end
we get desperate
to cloud the air with our visions
a bandage
a gauze over our sight
to soften the blow of longing,
of her hair twisting in the sun
of her hair in high resolution
of all the things
we will never touch
with our hands

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