I crossed the Vltava by way of the Charles Bridge.
I crossed the Neva by way of the Trinity Bridge.
I crossed the Danube by way of the Lion Bridge.

I crossed the Moskva by way of the Novoarbatski Bridge.
I crossed the Sava by way of Branko’s Bridge.
I crossed the Tiber by way of the ponte Sant’Angelo.
I crossed the Seine by way of the pont Mirabeau.
I crossed the bridges of rusted iron over the immense Paraná,
at Gualeguaychú,
and the equally mighty Santa Lucía River
at the entryway of old Montevideo.
And now I am traversing the East River
by way of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Which one of them will be the bridge of my dreams?
I am immobile in the air halfway between
Manhattan and Brooklyn.  The East River at my feet:
dense, uninhabited, without flowing.  So is my blood.
And a bit of a breeze lifting the skirts of the schoolgirls.
Halfway there like the navel of that young woman,
halfway there between the shrunken T-shirt
and the beginning of her marked pubis due to the sagging pants.
Thus I am in the middle of the bridge of Brooklyn,
In the midst of all the bridges of the world.
The noble neo-gothic arches of Manhattan bidding me farewell,
those of Brooklyn awaiting me.
This middle of the road, this power to choose
between continuing or returning, this no-man’s-land
in the middle of the air is, like Whitman wrote,
the best medicine for the soul.
Isn’t the soul also something aerial?
Seated on this bench, in the middle of the bridge,
the jam stops a large black limousine
right between the interstices of the woodwork.
It moves toward Brooklyn but it returns to Manhattan
And so on and so forth.
Here I feel how the axis of my life becomes displaced
from the past unto the present and the four eyes
of the arches conceive my future.
The towers of the bridge, on either side,
despite the fog, they are clearly
defined. They are the twin sisters of the other giants.
Am I daydreaming? Or, more precisely, am I waking from a dream?
I am halfway there and I linger.
My friends take a seat by me,
meanwhile someone takes a photo of us that is veiled
by a cyclist who passes without stopping.
Sorry!
Sorry!
She cries raising her arms from the handlebar.
At least something remained etched in us
of her fresh face.I cross bridges just as storms.
What side will they cast us?
I seek repose in all things.
All of whom passed I met when
I was under the leaves of the fig tree.
When I am weak, then I am strong,
my strength is powerful in weakness.
I cross bridges just as I leave dreams in hotels.
And through the towpaths flow impassive rivers.
Seated upon the bench I remain in silence.
The silence belongs to the art of oratory.
It rains over the Paraná.
It snows over the Neva.
My gaze is so innocent that it deceives. 

“Cruzando puentes” © Cesar Antonio Molina. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Francisco Macías. All rights reserved.

Crucé el Moldava por el puente de Carlos.
Crucé el Neva por el puente de la Trinidad.
Crucé el Danubio por el puente de los Leones.
Crucé el Moscova por el puente Novoarbatski.
Crucé el Sava por el puente de Branko.
Crucé el Tíber por el ponte Sant´Angelo.
Crucé el Sena por el puente Mirabeau.
Crucé los puentes de hierro oxidado sobre el inmenso Paraná,
en Gualeguaychu,
y el no menos caudaloso río Santa Lucía
a la entrada del antiguo Montevideo.
Y ahora estoy atravesando el East River
por el puente de Brooklyn.
¿Cuál de ellos será el puente de mis sueños?
Estoy inmóvil en el aire a mitad de camino entre
Manhattan y Brooklyn. El East River a mis pies:
denso, deshabitado, sin fluir. Así mi sangre.
Y una poca brisa levantando las faldas de las escolares.
A mitad de camino como el ombligo de aquella joven,
a mitad de camino entre la camiseta encogida
y el comienzo de su pubis marcado por el caído pantalón.
Así estoy yo en medio del puente de Brooklyn,
en medio de todos los puentes del mundo.
Los nobles arcos neogóticos de Manhattan despidiéndome,
esperándome los de Brooklyn.
Esta mitad del camino, este poder elegir
entre continuar o regresar, esta tierra de nadie
en medio del aire es, como escribió Whitman,
la mejor medicina para el alma.
¿No es el alma también algo aéreo?
Sentado en este banco, en medio del puente,
el atasco detiene a una gran limusina negra
justo entre los intersticios del maderamen.
Va hacia Brooklyn pero regresa a Manhattan
y así sucesivamente.
Aquí siento cómo el eje de mi vida se desplaza
desde el pasado al presente y los cuatro ojos
de los arcos conciben mi futuro.
Las torres del puente, a uno y otro lado,
a pesar de la neblina, están claramente
definidas. Son hermanas gemelas de los otros gigantes.
¿Sueño despierto o, más bien, despierto del sueño?
Estoy a mitad del camino y remoloneo.
Mis amigos toman asiento junto a mí,
mientras uno nos hace una foto que es velada
por una ciclista que pasa sin detenerse.
¡Sorry!
¡Sorry!
grita levantando los brazos del manillar.
Al menos se quedó en nosotros algo impreso
de su fresco rostro. 
Cruzo puentes como tormentas.
¿A qué lado nos echarán?
Busco reposo en todas las cosas.
A cuantos pasan los conocí cuando
estaba bajo las hojas de la higuera.
Cuando soy débil, entonces soy fuerte,
mi fuerza es poderosa en las debilidades.
Cruzo puentes como dejo sueños en los hoteles.
Y por los caminos de sirga fluyen ríos impasibles.
Sentado sobre el banco permanezco en silencio.
El silencio pertenece al arte de la oratoria.
Llueve sobre el Paraná.
Nieva sobre el Neva.
Mi mirada es tan inocente que engaña.




César Antonio MolinaCésar Antonio Molina

César Antonio Molina (La Coruña, 1952) holds degrees in law and information science. His dissertation, La prensa literaria española, was published in three volumes.  He was professor of literary theory and criticism at the Complutense University of Madrid and has taught humanities and journalism courses at the Charles III University of Madrid for the past eight years. He was also the coordinator of humanities courses for the summer sessions at the Complutense University of Madrid. From 1985 to 1996 he worked at the newspapers Cambio 16 and Diario 16, where he became deputy director  and head of the culture and entertainment sections, as well as the literary and cultural supplements. In 1996 he joined the Círculo de Bellas Artes as managing director. In 2004 he became director of the Instituto Cervantes, and in July 2007 he was appointed Cultural Minister of Spain, a post he held until April 2009. He has published more than thirty books, primarily essays (nonfiction), prose, and poetry. His poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and has been translated into several languages. In 2005 he published the book of essays En honor de Hermes, the poetry collection En el mar de ánforas, and the novel Fuga de amor. In 2006 he published the poetry anthology El rumor del tiempo. He was awarded the medal of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Charles III. He was named a Chevalier of  the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres  of the French governement. He was honored by the Italian government with the Cavaliere di Gran Croce de la Orden al Mérito medal and awarded the highest honor of Chile, the O’HigginsGold Medal. He was awarded the Castelao Medal of Galicia.He is currently the director of The International Center for the Research, Development, and Innovation in Reading/Casa de Lector.

Translated from SpanishSpanish by Francisco MacíasFrancisco Macías

Francisco Macías, a Mexican-born American, currently resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and works at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  He has served the Library as a Senior Legal Information Analyst since 2007.  He is a regular blogger for In Custodia Legis, the official blog of the Law Library of Congress.  He is also currently the president of the Library of Congress Hispanic Cultural Society and a fellow of the Library of Congress Leadership Development Program.  Before joining the Library of Congress, he held an eclectic array of jobs, all of which involved aspects of Spanish philology and pedagogy. Two of his translations have been published:  De cruz y media luna/From Cross and Crescent Moon by Elvia Ardalani and the Selected Poems of César Antonio Molina. He also served as the coordinating editor for a joint project between the Miguel Hernández Foundation and the University of Texas-Pan American Press:  a centennial anniversary edition of academic essays commemorating the work of Spanish poet and playwright Miguel Hernández titled Miguel Hernández desde América by editors Aitor L. Larrabide and Elvia Ardalani. His forthcoming work includes The Transfigured Heart by Dolores Castro and The Being of the Household Beings by Elvia Ardalani.