I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                                                                                        -T.S. Eliot



Who am I? … “The light that falls on this gate, on this ground?”

Am I the trees and the plants? Maybe the sea?

I am hills, shorelines, water bathed in light

I am a body tired of so much wandering

a body and a soul tired of fear

I am fear.


From the depths and the dark I listen and tremble

I hear the depths, the dark, the difficulty

the contradictions, all the opposite poles

the blackness, the whiteness, the exchanges

as if the white gathered the black

as if the black gathered the white.


Who am I?

First a sorrow, then the endurance.


I see ships, multiple ships that touch my shore.


The ships glow in the night

                         —I see their flags

they are the arrival, the end

though not the cure for the most ancient wound.

I see sick, ancient, grieving ships

               and inside crutches, disability, anxiety.


Who am I?


The sun burns me, lights my skin on fire, illuminates my eyes

I begin to burn, I am burning

               I respond with love to the midday sun.


I have sought you out to know who I am,

and I don’t know who I am


The leaf storm has dragged me

Maybe to save me

               My body is covered by a vegetable carpet

               the leaves’ down caresses me

               I have sunk into the green               

               I sleep, sleep, sleep

               so everything will pass, so everything will finish passing.


Now I’m the bird I buried in the garden

               I sleep under the earth so everything will pass

               I want to avoid the pain and horror. Oblivion, oblivion…


I think, it’s no longer time for the undertow

               each wave dictates a continuity to me

               it dictates to us

my continuity is a subtle station, imperceptible

               to those who hurry.


You arrived from the country of sorrow.    Going where, where?


The sea opens in me, vast

               to wash me, water me

               little by little I go to it

               with respect.


And far off I see the ships

ships freighted with weeping, with contained indignation

                         magdalen ships.


“Did you write the poem, did you do it well?

                         I ask you.”


Who am I?                I went looking for you

                         But it was in Venice that I saw you

Your things were over there

               table cloths, jewelry, a garnet, topazes

Venice:   rest for melancholy.

I suffer

Me, who am I?

I want to go to the beach, I want to look at the sea

I want to look at the earth trembling from the sea’s love

I will adore beauty, the splendors

The city forces me to work

                         and meanwhile I sigh


After so much pain I think things will accommodate themselves

                         a mending here, another over there

                         I’m exhausted

—three and a half is old enough

                         to understand everything

                         life, death, abandonment, distances.


I’m not a daughter of war, I sigh…

                         I’m a granddaughter


I’m going to take this past slowly, with delays

(my husband’s a humorist and he laughs, he laughs at me and he’s right)

My father would also say: “You have to laugh”

but he couldn’t laugh, from so much sorrow.


Who am I? I think I’m a lit-up pansy

                         a fuchsia pansy

                         hanging over the wall.

I have placed my flowering over the wall

                         so it will be more beautiful

                                   so it will soften

maybe I want to hide or forget about

                         such a rough stone.     The wall.

                         The Berlin wall.


I don’t want horror I want tolerance

                         the house, friends, books,

                         the garnet of love, siblings.


I want the sea and the fallen leaves to be resolved in me.


Where are you?          Tell me, who am I?


The trees are silent, there are no crickets

                         only the metallic makes noise

                         machines and money make themselves felt

                         I hear cars and in the distance a strike

                         nothing’s happening here!

                         but the lights are on

                                           and the heart is in flames.


I’m a witness to this. And to that

                    I’m a witness.

It doesn’t matter.         There’s the apamate blossom

                    You said it was the apamate blossom

                    I have seen the cherry blossom

                    it was so beautiful.                      Doctor, it was so beautiful.


Ah, so much pressure, I sometimes lack the strength.


Everything we have to care for: ourselves, the earth, the soul

let us suppose poetry as well

                         and children, the child within

                         the kitchen, lucidity in the kitchen

the list is too long

                         and it’s too much for us women

                         will men be able to help us?

                         hear us?

too much weight; yes, too much weight

                         too much pressure.


Venice, Venezuela

                         I sigh, tremble, burn

My husband works and it’s nighttime.         The cats scream.


I hear the sea, the conch informs me

Not everything is resolution, but something should be resolved

                         something like a payment

                         but what?, I don’t know…


What am I? I listen to something within me, a voice, maybe

                         something that wants to come out

                         something clear

                         that I don’t understand now, that murmurs.


Am I from the Middle Ages?

                         my dead are left behind

                         behind and nearby

                         they, the mourners

                         the ones who didn’t understand absurdity

                         their own absurdity

                         the ones who still couldn’t see themselves

                         they, the adolescents

                         the ones who suffered, who were in pain.


Once I said: The sea within me doesn’t let me sleep

                         Now I know,

                         I know what the vigil means

                         I’m paying attention

                         I’m wearing seaweed stuck to my body.


Who am I? A path? A road?

                         A highway between city and city?

                         Am I an interval, a lapse?

Not conciliation, no. But something more

Let’s see, I should clarify myself, or maybe not.


I see a line of palm trees, a fog

                         There are two or three there

                         a man, a woman

                         two men

                         far off, children


I know what that means

                         Sandstone, sad dust amid the light

                                     points I intercept

My heart is in flames, beat by beat

                         there is no forge

                         I am calm.

The house is here, here the fires and the waters

                         here the hearth

“But you, you suffered so much, for all this”


Ah… my passion. Ah… my pardons

Clarity, divine light, come to me.


The sun burns and scalds, consecrates itself facing my autumn

The sun speaks to me, against autumn, against ruin

                         —but I am also the autumn.


Ah quick fruit so close to sadness

everything beautiful in you, peach fuzz

                         is given away to be a fig

                         as if it were an exchange

                         between the difficult and the fresh.


My boundary, such clarity!

Oh earth, I must do so much to understand you

                         I have to be so meticulous.

Now I live in the detail, in fragments, in strokes

                         on the line of a face.


Who am I?

I don’t have a face, surely, I’m sure, I don’t have a face

                         my eyes fly further away

                         my cheekbones are blunt

                         my hair flutters or becomes docile

                         the light makes it brilliant, shrinks it

                         fires burn inside me


and now I want something like peace

                         something like the everyday

                         I tremble lit up with so much passion

(My husband is sleeping… finally; that way he won’t hear me

my husband knows when I think , when I feel,

my resonance reaches him and it’s strong.)


I’m in my room, in my “own room”

                         There’s the German squirrel

                         the dolls: the English one, the one from Mérida

                         the Venezuelan one, the Italian one

                         there’s the primitive bird

                         the wood carving

                         there’s the photo of the balcony into nowhere


Greece, Germany, Venezuela, London, Venice, Egypt.

                         The cares.

                         It’s too much.     Enough. Enough.

                                     I lack strength

                         I have left the poem, the word

                         I have spoken too much.

There’s hardly any guilt

only the dying shadow of what we are


we want shelter

the barges with their lights

                         the flags

                         the canons, the bullets, the invisible bullets

                         no longer enter me

I only hear the voice of the crickets

                         the voice of the earth

                         the voice of nature

                         remains, almost bellowing

                         like an imploration

                         who listens?

                         who’s there?

                         who’s speaking?

                         I knock on the doors

It’s not the one inside who asks

It’s the one outside

                         the demolished one

                         the tired one

                         the exhausted one

And my voice draws itself out, extends itself

                         Who’s there?


The ray of light has been cut short

                         I should sleep, it’s nighttime

                         the angels will cover us

                         like a couple in love



My solitary soul pulses and I see the reflections

over there’s a notebook, over there’s a pencil

                         a coffee grinder

                         and Steinberg’s signature, whom I don’t know


The cricket jumps and jumps —full of freedom in itself

          I activate, activate and don’t understand

                         I try to understand, slowly

my childhood and my old age make it impossible

                         I’m forty years old.


God, what do I mean… who am I?

                         There’s a dawn, yes

                         and a midnight

                         there’s an undulating body

                         there are women with a scarf tied around their head

                         and that means something, a mourning perhaps

                         black scarves to hold desperation

I think everything has meaning

                         I know about everything with meaning


Who am I? Do I have a meaning?

                         Am I a word, a wind, a plant?

                         My heart aflame.                     I cry, I burn…

                         There I go, like the shade of destinies

The feather of my feather is burning

                         fluttering, following the breeze


Sea, I trust you to provide others their limit

                                   like the beach

I’m absorbed facing you, almost frightened

                         all my risks are retracted

Care. Care. Care.          We’ll have to move with more care.


What else?        The stars are right there.                     Silent.

                         And there is work.                  Heart.

If all this has been bad… then what?

                         Then there will be no correction.


Who am I?                               The miracle of an error?

                         The window opens

                         Guilt is ventilated

                         The sun radiates


On the coast lies a sailor

                         the woman cries

distress, distress, distress

There’s no end to this war

                         this horrible war

                         this destruction

my soul has been split in two

                         pity for my angels

                         Holy cross


I’ve cried.     The earth sublimates me.               Vegetables.


                         Man sublimates me

and because of him I am beyond him

                                     between junk and sighs

That’s why I clean the house

                         And that solitary scream… what might it be?




It is the light of the Moon that illuminates me today.



                                                                                    November, 1985